The turn in the road is a useful way of turning the car around to move off in the other direction and is sometimes known as the three point turn. You can actually do it in three, five or even seven turns, as long as you do it safely and in full control.
We will talk about a turn in the road using three points, as it is likely to be the case on your driving test that the examiner will choose a site where three turns should be enough.
Once you have passed your driving test you should only turn the car around in a suitable place. Before manoeuvring ask yourself:
- Is this a safe place to do a turn in the road?
- Is this a convenient place?
- Is legal to do the manoeuvre?
Your knowledge of The Highway Code, road signs,road markings and common sense will help you decide.
You must ask yourself
- Will I be able to control my vehicle here?
Only you can answer this question. If you have never reversed down a hill before you might be unsure of how to control the car during the turn in the road, where a more experienced driver may be able to control a downhill reverse with a lot more confidence.
Only when you can answer yes to all four of these questions can you be sure the place is suitable.
Carrying Out The Turn In The Road
First you should stop on the left using the MSM routine. Avoid lamp-posts or trees or any other obstructions near the kerb. If your vehicle overhangs the kerb at any time make sure there are no pedestrians or any other obstacles that you might hit.
On the day of your driving test the driving examiner will choose the location where he/she wants to do the manoeuvre. They may say something like “don’t worry about stopping near the drive”. This is just because they have limited time to evaluate your driving skills on a driving test. Trust the examiner; they are not trying to trick you.
The actual manoeuvre consists of the P.O.M(Prepare, Observe, Manoeuvre) routine, three times. The first part of the manoeuvre is as follows:
Clutch down, select first gear, set the gas and bring the clutch to the biting point. If the first part is driving slightly downhill then use brake control like on the downhill start
Check all round, including both blind spots and all mirrors. Give way to any passing vehicles until you can see it’s safe to continue. If you see something such as children playing in the road, make sure keep an eye on them throughout the manoeuvre
Release the handbrake and slowly move forward. You should keep the clutch just above or just below the biting point, depending on how fast you are moving. Try to move at the seed of a slow walking pace. You should steer briskly to the right all the way to full lock (1½ turns). Only steer when you are moving, as steering when you are stationary could damage your steering and/or tyres. This is known as dry steering.
Ideally you are aiming to be at a right angle across the road (90 degrees). Just before you reach the opposite kerb you should steer quickly to the left and then stop. Your wheels will then be ready to reverse left. Try not to touch the kerb before stopping.
You should stop close to the kerb, using a marker of the kerb in your driver’s side window should help you judge this. This marker will be different for everyone, you should get close to the kerb and make a mental note of how far the kerb seems to come down your door.
Once stopped you should secure the vehicle with the parking brake. The first part of the manoeuvre is done.
The Second Part – The Reverse
Now you are positioned across the road, and need to reverse back in the opposite direction. Again, use the P.O.M(Prepare, Observe, Manoeuvre) routine to make sure you do this safely
Clutch down, select reverse gear, set the gas and bring the clutch to the biting point. If this part is reversing downhill then use brake control like a downhill start
Again check all round and act sensibly on what you see. If any vehicles are approaching make sure they are waiting before you continue. Making eye contact with the driver will let them know you have seen them. This will help them decide whether to wait or go. Finish looking over your left shoulder out of the back window, as this is the direction you are going to be moving in.
Release the handbrake and reverse slowly backwards. As you start to move turn the steering wheel briskly to the left to full lock (until it will not turn any further). As you are nearing the kerb behind you, look over your right shoulder and use the reversing marker in the driver’s side window to make sure you don’t touch the kerb. Start to steer briskly to the right before you stop, again to give yourself ahead start on the next part of the manoeuvre.
Third Part Of The Three Point Turn
Almost done now, you just need to drive off safely, so:
Clutch down, select first gear, set the gas, clutch to bite.
Check all round and make sure it’s safe to drive on.
Release the handbrake, move off slowly and straighten up on the left hand side of the road as you drive off.
The camber of the road is the way the road slopes to enable rain water to drain away effectively. The camber may not seem like too severe a slope to look at, but as you are nearing the kerb the car tends to pick up speed as it goes downhill towards the kerb. This can happen both on the forward or reverse part of the manoeuvre.
The best way to cope with this is to depress the clutch just before you reach the side of the road you are driving towards and press the brake pedal gently to stop the car rolling into the kerb. The amount you brake will depend on the speed of your car, and the severity of the camber.
The camber can also make you roll towards the kerb just as you are trying to set off. You will need good clutch control to stop you rolling towards the kerb, but also to stop you moving off too quickly.