How To Master The Three Point Turn

Last Updated: 10/05/2022

Before you take your driving test you will need to be able to competently carry out four manoeuvres, one of which is known as the ‘three point turn’.

Your examiner will be watching to see if you can safely turn your vehicle around in the road.

This procedure gets easier each time you try and requires the skills of:

Accuracy:

Can you turn your vehicle around in three points without touching the kerb or mounting the pavement?

Control:

Can you keep the vehicle moving slow using the clutch while quickly steering at the same time?

Observation:

Can you show that you are watching all sides of the vehicle as you perform this important manoeuvre?

What You Will Learn

To help get you prepared for this manoeuvre, we have put together this useful guide which will give you the guidance you need so you can execute this manoeuvre with confidence.

Simply click the below links to visit that specific section of this article or simply read on to get the full information.

  • Step-By-Step Guide
  • Video Demonstration
  • Hints & Tips
  • Useful Information
  • Final Thoughts
  • Further Resources

Step-By-Step Guide

As in all driving manoeuvres, the main code to remember for your three-point turn is Prepare, Observe & Move

Prepare:

Always get your vehicle ready for the manoeuvre.

Observe:

Always look 360 degrees around your vehicle and check mirrors and blind spots to make sure it is safe to go.

Move:

Always drive your vehicle slowly from first to final turn.

The examiner will start to assess your manoeuvre by asking you to park on the left.

He/she will do this to make sure that you are using all your mirrors – rear view mirror, left mirror and right mirror.

Your use of your left mirror for signalling left will also be assessed.

Although the examiner will direct you to a legal parking space, you will need to avoid parking in front of a private driveway, too close to junctions or on a sharp bend.

Once you have stopped the car put the handbrake on and put the car into neutral gear.

The examiner may tell you that he/she was also assessing your ability to park safely on the left.

How To Do The Turn In The Road/3 Point Turn Manoeuvre

  • Before you begin, check all your mirrors blind spots to make sure the road is clear in both directions.
  • Very slowly using clutch control start accelerating your vehicle no faster than a slow walking pace.
  • As soon as the car starts to move, quickly turn the wheel as fast as you can to a full right lock and manoeuvre the vehicle to the other side of the road.
  • When you are about 1 metre from the kerb, stop, apply the handbrake and turn the wheel to the left about 1 full turn. This will keep the wheel straight for when you begin to reverse – this is the 1st stage in the turn.
  • When you are ready to begin the 2nd stage of the turn, look at the kerb behind you that you are aiming for and select a reference point to help you gauge when the vehicle is close to the opposite kerb.
  • When you are ready to start the 2nd stage of the turn, check all your mirrors and blind spot again before putting the gear into reverse and slowly start manoeuvring the vehicle towards your reference point.
  • Make sure that you are constantly observing throughout this part of the manoeuvre for any new road users and pedestrians.
  • Stop and apply the handbrake when you are about 1 metre from the other kerb to prevent the car from mounting the kerb – this is the second stage of the turn.
  • When you are ready to start the final stage of the turn, check all your mirrors and blind spot again before selecting first gear and slowly start accelerating in the new direction – this is the 3rd and final stage of the turn.

Observations are important throughout the manoeuvre such as keeping the car slow as you approach the kerb and checking up and down the road for approaching traffic.

Most driving instructors will introduce the turn in the road manoeuvres when you have been driving for about 10 hours or less if you are particularly confident.

They should be able to give you an idea of how long it will take you to reach the test standard.

Video Demonstration

Hints & Tips

Here are some tips and advice for ensuring that you make the perfect turn in the road during the driving test.

Remain Calm:

It is important that you keep as calm as possible when taking your test.

You will more than likely be taken to a well-used road to do the turn in the road procedure.

Be Fully Practised:

You need to be fully practised before doing this manoeuvre so that you know exactly what you have got to do.

Take Your Time:

Try to remain calm if vehicles try to push past you or become impatient.

Everyone has had to go through this to pass their test so just keep your nerve and repeat exactly what you did when out with your driving instructor.

Useful Information

Below are some additional points to consider when attempting this manoeuvre.

Safety At All Times:

Nobody has the right of way where the turn in the road is concerned as such.

The main concern is safety.

If you make sure to observe all around you and stop if you see an approaching vehicle to assess what their intentions are, you will be considered safe.

If another vehicle attempts to move around you then stay where you are until the road is clear again.

This also applies to pedestrians and cyclists that may be in the direction that your car is moving toward.

Indication & Signalling:

When you are making a turn in the road manoeuvre, you do not need to indicate or signal.

You just need to wait until the vehicle, cyclist or pedestrian have passed and once again look carefully around your car and proceed with the manoeuvre when it is clear.

Road Camber:

Road camber is the varying differences in height of the road.

Each time you stop in the turn in the road, it is a good habit to apply the handbrake and clutch bite point.

This is because many roads have camber to help with water drainage.

This can sometimes make it difficult for the learner to see and may cause a roll into the kerb.

If you apply the handbrake and find the clutch bite at each point then this is unlikely to happen.

Final Thoughts

Although your examiner will not be looking for perfection, he will be expecting you to complete the manoeuvre safely and correctly, however, if you think you might not be able to make the turn in three turns, don’t try.

Instead, turn it into a 5 point turn.

If the road is actually wide enough to accommodate a 3 point turn, then you may incur a minor but this is a better option than possibly hitting the kerb.

If you constantly keep in mind safety at all times then you should pass this part of the driving test.

Further Resources