How to Do A Three-Point Turn

By September 23, 2020 Manoeuvres

A three-point turn is a great manoeuvre to learn because it helps you learn clutch control, controlled acceleration and braking, and helps you correct yourself if you’ve ever ended up going in the wrong direction.

The most important thing to remember when you’re doing a three-point turn is to be aware of your surroundings and to always do your checks.

In this guide on how to do a three-point turn, I’ll talk you through the reference points, how to control your speed and prepare you for what’s to come in an upcoming driving lesson.

Table of contents

What is a three point turn?

A three-point turn is the most common way to turn your vehicle around to face in the opposite direction. It consists of three points, using forward and reverse gears, that allows a vehicle to use the natural camber of the road to make a turn, safely and quickly.

It’s often used to help turn your car around when the road is too narrow for a U-turn or when space is limited due to parked cars or other obstructions on the road.

What’s the first thing you do when making a three point turn?

The first thing you need to do is find the biting point in your car. Once you know the roads are safe, you release the handbrake and full lock your wheel to the right. This will be the start of the maneuver.

Conducting a three-point turn needs to be practiced in a safe and convenient place. Ideally, not a busy road as to avoid disrupting the flow of traffic.

Most driving schools will have common locations they take students to avoid putting them under high-stress situations to make the experience much more enjoyable.

As with learning any manoeuvre on the road, it’s important that you always check your surroundings before pulling off.

Are you ready to start taking driving lessons? 

Do I have to signal during a three point turn?

No, you do not have to signal during a three-point turn. The purpose here is to turn your car around – not to pull away in the same direction. By not signalling, we’re letting other road users know that your intention is not to carry on straight.

However, just because you don’t need to signal, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t continue to use your blind spot and your mirrors. 

How do you do a three point turn correctly?

(Image source: RAC)

Assuming that the road is safe and we’re in a good position to do so, I’ll now walk you through the step-by-step process of doing a three-point turn.

  1. You need to choose a safe and legal location to perform your three-point turn – avoid junctions and parked cars if possible.
  2. Now, pull gently over to the left-hand kerb ensuring you continue to check your surroundings for pedestrians and other road users.
  3. If it’s safe to do so, find the biting point with your clutch and gently apply the gas whilst turning the steering wheel full-lock right. It’s important the car is moving when you do this, to avoid wearing down the rubber on your tyres.
  4. Accelerate gently until the front of your car nears the right-hand kerb. You can stop your vehicle around a meter (around 3ft) away from the kerb.
  5. Before reversing, check your surroundings (mirrors and blind spot, too) for any oncoming or waiting road users.
  6. Once it’s safe, turn your steering wheel full-lock left as you slowly reverse away from the kerb.
  7. Now, once you’ve got enough space and distance, select first gear and turn your steering wheel right as you pull away onto the opposite side of the road.

It’s always important to keep in mind that a three-point turn is only as safe as the road you’re on and might not always be the best way to make a turn in the road.

If the road isn’t safe to turn around on, it’s always best to wait until you’re able to find a junction which brings you back toward your destination or keep driving until you find the next roundabout.

Will I have to do a three-point turn on my test?

No, you won’t have to do a three-point turn on your test. As of December 4th 2017, learner drivers are no longer required to perform a three-point turn (or turn in the road) on their driving test.

Despite it not being on your test, it is still handy to know how to perform a turn in the road safely, smoothly and with confidence.

Interested in learning more? Check out my guide on pulling up on the right.

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