Essential Driving Skills

Turn in the Road


This is a useful turn in cul-de-sac and roads where there are no side turning or opening to reverse into.
You must always be careful to select the site for the manoeuvre with care. You must decide:

1. IS IT LAWFUL? – are there any restrictions on turning round, for example as in a one-way road
2. IS IT SAFE? - It would not for example be safe to turn in the road before a brow of a hill as traffic coming over the hill might not see you in time to stop. (watch for the lamp post, telephone poles or even post boxes),
3. IS IT CONVENIENT? - If the road is especially busy then it may cause great inconvenience to other road users
4. CAN I DO IT? There are some roads that are so narrow that it would be impractical to try out the manoeuvre. Even though the site meets these requirements you should ensure that there are no trees or lamp posts on either side of the road which may be in the way as you perform the manoeuvre

The procedure for moving off at the start of the manoeuvre is the same as for moving off normally. Select first gear and make sure that you get the biting point; before moving off check all around you and check the blind spot over both shoulders to make sure it is safe. When it is safe to move release the handbrake and move off very slowly using the clutch to control the speed

Drive slowly forward for about 1/3rd metre and turn the wheel quickly to the right, keep turning the wheel until it reaches full lock. You should try to reach full lock by the time you are half way across the road. If the car begins to pick up speed push the clutch down slightly.

You should be aware that the road surface can affect the speed of your vehicle. Most people think of a road surface as being flat but this is not usually the case as most have a high point in the centre, this curve to the road surface is called a ‘camber’. You should take note of the camber of the road as it can mean that when you moving off you are pulling slightly uphill. Once you pass the high point of the surface the resistance of the uphill slope disappears and the car may begin to pick up speed quickly as it rolls down the other side. So before moving off on any part of the manoeuvre look at the camber of the road and try to work out how and at which point on the turn it will affect your car.

As you are moving across the road check from side to side, make sure that are aware of any traffic that may be coming. If anything does come then you should try to complete this part of the manoeuvre and then wait for it to pass.

When you are about a metre from the kerb turn the steering wheel back a few turns in order to straighten the wheels, this is called ‘opposite lock’. Applying opposite lock will help you to turn more easily on the next part of the manoeuvre but you must only turn the steering wheel when the car is moving. You should try to use as much of the road as possible and try to avoid hitting the kerb as you stop as this could damage the tyres, if the kerbs are higher then hitting it could damage the bodywork (or at the very least break your number plate).

When you are stopping you will need to apply the foot brake to make sure that the vehicle stops where you want it to and put the clutch down to prevent the car from stalling. Once the car is stationery apply the hand brake to ensure that the car does not roll forward. If any other vehicles come along when you are performing the manoeuvre then you should complete that part of the manoeuvre if it is safe to do so and then watch what the driver of the other vehicle does. If he or she is waiting then you carry on with the next part of the manoeuvre ensuring that you have checked for other road users that may be coming. If the approaching vehicle has slowed down but has not stopped then wait and see what the other driver intends to do.

If there are pedestrians approaching the area of the kerbs where you will be stopping then do not start that part of the manoeuvre until they have passed.

The next part of the manoeuvre is the reverse to bring the car into this position. You will have to prepare the vehicle in the normal way, make sure that you find the bite and remember that when you move off you may be doing so uphill against the camber of the road. Before releasing the handbrake you must look all around for any approaching traffic or pedestrians. Be sure that you check behind the car by looking over both shoulders. When you are sure that it is safe release the handbrake and move back slowly. Keep looking to the rear over your left shoulder. Keep the car moving slowly using your clutch to control the speed and turn the wheel quickly to the left. When you half way across the road check to the left and right to see if there are any approaching vehicles or pedestrians. Remember that the camber may make the car pick up speed as you cross the centre of the road, if this happens use the brake to control the speed if necessary.

When you are about a metre from the kerb look over your right shoulder to get a better idea of the kerbs location and begin to apply the opposite lock, in other words the wheel should be turned to the right. A good way to remember which way to turn the wheel on the reverse is to think “look left - steer left” “look right - steer right”. The car should be at its slowest as you approach the kerb so that you can judge when you want to stop accurately. When you have stopped, put on the handbrake

If you are not going to get around in the space available then you will need to repeat the first part and the reverse section as many times as necessary. When you have the required space then check that the road is clear before moving. When it is safe, select first gear and prepare the car to move off, take all round observation including a check over both shoulders for pedestrians. Move off using the clutch to control your speed and go slowly until you are able to drive on. When you are straight check the mirrors and drive on

The Driving Test

The examiner on the driving test will expect you to turn your car round in the road:-

1. Safely
2. Smoothly
3. Under control
4. Making proper use of the accelerator, clutch, brakes and steering
5. Without touching or mounting the kerb.

The examiner will also be looking to see that you:-

1. Are aware of other road users
2. Keep looking all around throughout the manoeuvre.
3. Turning in the road by using forward and reverse gears