Curb Height: What is the Standard? (ANSWERED)

curb that's being highlighted by its height

Ever noticed how some curbs scrape your car’s bumper while others don’t? Or wondered why certain curbs are just the right height to keep your car from jumping the sidewalk?

As a car owner, these experiences highlight the importance of curb design.

In this discussion, we’ll dive into the reasons behind standard curb heights and their impact on your daily driving experience.

What is Curb Height?

A red straight curb on the road

Curb height refers to the elevation of the edge of a roadway or median above the roadbed, typically constructed from materials like concrete or asphalt.

The primary functions of curbs are to provide delineation and separation, ensuring safety by defining the road’s edge and helping to manage vehicle traffic and pedestrian movement effectively.

What is the Standard Height of a Curb?

number 6 being held by a hand

The standard curb height in the United States commonly ranges between 5 and 7 inches, with 6 inches being particularly typical in many areas.[1]

This standardization helps in various urban design contexts, from enhancing pedestrian safety to managing street water drainage.

In specific settings, such as certain parking lots or areas requiring special accommodations for accessibility, curb heights can vary. For example, curbs in parking lots may be adjusted for practical reasons like vehicle clearance or landscaping concerns

TRY READING: Is It Bad to Park with Tire Against Curb?

Why is 6 Inches the Standard Height for a Curb?

The 6-inch standard for curb height is considered optimal for several practical and safety-related reasons:

Vehicle Containment

A 6-inch curb height is generally sufficient to prevent car tires from easily rolling over the curb, which helps in containing vehicles within the roadway and preventing accidental incursions onto sidewalks or landscaped areas.

RECOMMENDED: Why Do I Keep Hitting on Curbs for Some Reason?

Pedestrian Safety

pedestrians safety

This height is also high enough to create a clear visual and physical barrier for pedestrians, which helps to improve safety by delineating the sidewalk from the roadway effectively.

Drainage Control

At 6 inches, curbs effectively channel stormwater into drainage systems without allowing water to spill over into pedestrian areas. This helps in managing surface water runoff and prevents flooding on sidewalks.


While high enough to serve the first three functions, a 6-inch curb is still low enough to be relatively easy for pedestrians to step over. This strikes a balance between accessibility and functionality, making it easier for people with mobility challenges compared to higher curb heights.


Using a standardized curb height simplifies construction and maintenance. It allows for uniformity in materials and construction methods, which can lead to cost savings and easier implementation of citywide urban planning standards.

Compliance with Vehicle Design

person opening up the door of their car

The height does not generally interfere with the opening of vehicle doors or damage vehicles when they come into contact with the curb. This makes it a practical choice in urban environments where space is often limited.

These points highlight why the 6-inch curb height is a commonly adopted standard in many cities, balancing the needs of safety, functionality, and urban design.


Can curb heights vary depending on the city or state?

Yes, curb height standards can vary based on local regulations and specific urban planning needs. However, a 6-inch curb is a common standard used in many places for its balance of functionality and safety.

How do curbs prevent cars from leaving the roadway?

The 6-inch height of curbs is designed to act as a physical barrier that prevents vehicles from easily driving over them, enhancing road safety by keeping cars within their designated lanes.

ALSO CHECK: What are the Different Types of Curbs?

Why does my car’s bumper sometimes scrape against the curb?

Curbs are typically 6 inches high to balance safety, accessibility, and drainage. If your car’s bumper scrapes, it might be due to a lower front clearance of your vehicle or a higher-than-standard curb. Always approach curbs slowly to minimize scraping.


As a car owner, dealing with curbs can be a hassle, from scraping your bumper to ensuring your car stays on the road. Knowing that the standard curb height is 6 inches helps explain how cities balance safety and functionality.

Smooth Curb offers a practical solution with our Original Smooth Curb Driveway Curb Ramp, which provides a smooth transition from the street to your driveway. This protects your vehicle and improves your driving experience.

If you want to read more about curbs, cars, and more, check out our blog where we’ve covered topics such as “What Are Good Curb Ramp Alternatives?” and “How Can You Jack Up Your Car Without a Jack?”.

If you have any concerns about this topic, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We hope that we’ve helped clarify how tall curbs are, and we look forward to seeing you in our next article.

Take care!