The turn in the road (sometimes incorrectly called a 3 point turn/three point turn) is one of the reversing manoeuvres that you might be asked to perform on your Practical Driving Test.
The aim of this manoeuvre is for you to turn the car round to face in the opposite direction by using forward and reverse gears. You will also be expected to carry out all appropriate safety proceedures and checks whilst doing so. This will demonstrate to the driving examiner that you can control the car safely and reverse with reasonable accuracy.
Although often referred to as a "3 point turn", you are NOT restricted to completing this manoeuvre in only three turns!
On this page you will find step by step instructions and video tutorials to help you learn how to do a perfect turn in the road, whether it's a 3 point turn or a 5 point turn!
How To Do A Turn In The Road Step-By-Step
Remember - you DON'T have to complete this manoeuvre in ONLY three turns!
Step 1 - Preparation and observation
On your driving test, the examiner will ask you to stop on the left several times! Sometimes this will be before asking you to perform one of the manoeuvres and sometimes it will be to test your judgement in selecting a safe and suitable place to stop and your control and observation when moving off again. During your driving lessons your driving instructor will be able to help you gain experience in selecting suitable places to stop, but in general you need to be looking for a safe place, where there is good visibility, plenty of room and where there are no obstructions on the road (e.g. parked vehicles, rubbish skips etc nearby) or on the pavement (e.g. lamp posts, post boxes, rubbish bins etc). You must also make sure that you are not obstructing other road users by parking across roads, driveways, opposite entrances etc.
When you have stopped, the examiner will ask you to turn the car around in the road to face the opposite direction using forward and reverse gears.
Prepare to move off by depressing the clutch, selecting first gear, setting the gas and finding the biting point.
You must now OBSERVE thoroughly all around you - check your drivers mirror (rear view mirror), both door mirrors, look over your right shoulder to check your blind spot, check in front of the car and lastly check your drivers mirror again. If there is oncoming traffic from either direction, or pedestrians who may be crossing the road (or about to cross it), then wait.
Step 2 - Moving forwards and steering right
Release the handbrake and using clutch control (balancing the clutch and the gas to move the car at a low speed), start to move forwards SLOWLY whilst turning the steering wheel QUICKLY to the RIGHT. Get the steering wheel onto full right lock as soon as you can, so that ideally the car should end up at a right angle across the road.
You must be looking and listening for other road users throughout the manoeuvre and be prepared to stop and let them proceed if necessary.
As you approach the kerb on the opposite side of the road (about 1 metre away), turn the steering wheel briskly to the LEFT. As the front wheels get near to the kerb, put the clutch right down and use your footbrake to stop.
Put the handbrake on.
Step 3 - Reversing
Prepare to move off again by pressing the clutch down, selecting REVERSE gear, setting the gas and finding the biting point.
OBSERVE again to make sure the way is clear in all directions and look over your left shoulder before you begin to reverse. If clear release your handbrake.
As the car starts to move, turn the steering wheel as far to the LEFT as it will go.
As before, constantly check for other road users and be prepared to stop if needed.
When you are about half-way across the road, change to looking over your right shoulder so that you can see the kerb as you get nearer to it.
As you approach the kerb on the opposite side of the road (about 1 metre away), turn the steering wheel briskly to the RIGHT. As the front wheels get near to the kerb, put the clutch right down and use your footbrake to stop.
Put the handbrake on.
Step 4 - Straightening up
Prepare to move off again by pressing the clutch down, selecting FIRST gear, setting the gas and finding the biting point.
OBSERVE again to make sure the way is clear in all directions. If clear release your handbrake.
Drive slowly forward, turning the wheel to the right if necessary to straighten up on the left hand side of the road, then once straight proceed as normal.
Quick instructions for how to do a turn in the road / three point turn
For those who prefer instructions given visually, there are some tutorial videos further down the page - some with an audio commentary for those who like to listen to what they need to do!
Once stopped in a safe place:
- 1. 1st gear, find the bite
- 2. Full observation - left to right
- 3. Handbrake off
- 4. Full right lock as quickly as possible
- 5. As you approach the far kerb, straighten wheel and stop
- 6. Handbrake on
- 7. Reverse gear, find the bite
- 8. Full observation - right to left
- 9. Handbrake off
- 10. Full left lock as quickly as possible (looking over left shoulder)
- 11. Look over right shoulder once you have full lock
- 12. As you approach the kerb, straighten the wheel and stop
- 13. Handbrake on
- 14. 1st gear, find the bite
- 15. Full observation - left to right
- 16. Handbrake off
- 17. Turn to the right to the normal driving position
Do's and Don'ts!
- Don't rush but don't hesitate too much
- Don't "dry steer" (turn wheel when car not moving)
- Make sure it's safe before moving
- Good clutch control (balance clutch/gas to move slowly)
- Speed slow, steer quickly
- Good observation at all times
- Allow for the camber of road - uphill/downhill
Common Mistakes When Doing A Turn In The Road
Mistakes that could result in driving test faults when doing the turn in the road manoeuvre during your driving test include:
- Poor co-ordination of controls
- Mounting the pavement or kerb
- Turning the wheel the wrong way
- Taking an excessively long time to complete the manoeuvre
- No blind spot checks
- Not looking to the left or right before reversing or pulling forwards
- Not looking directly behind
- Not reacting to passing or approaching vehicles
- Not reacting to pedestrians
- Waiting unnecessarily for other road users
Turn In The Road FAQs
Can you take your seatbelt off when doing a turn in the road?
Yes, you can take your seatbelt off when carrying out any of the reversing manoeuvres on your driving test - but it's not advisable! It's very easy to forget to put it back on afterwards - which won't impress the examiner at all!
What Happens If You Touch The Kerb?
A slight touch of the kerb probably won't matter, but hitting it hard or driving onto it will result in a fault being recorded by the examiner
Video driving lessons demonstrating how to do 3 point turns and 5 point turns
It's sometimes easier to actually see something done, rather than just read a set of instructions!
The following videos will give you visual instructions to help you learn how to do the turn in the road manoeuvre both with three and five points.
All the videos are presented in a different format - two are animated and two are "real-life" driving lessons presented by a fully qualified DVSA Approved Driving Instructor.
Video Tutorial 1
Video Tutorial 2
Video Tutorial 3
How To Do A 5 Point Turn!
You don't have to complete this manoeuvre in only 3 turns and in fact it's sometimes IMPOSSIBLE to only use 3 turns!
Where the road is narrow or if you're driving a larger vehicle or a vehicle is difficult to steer, you'll need at least 5 turns!
Here's how to do a 5 point turn - and if you can't make it in 5 turns, the principle is the same if you need any extra turns!
Video Tutorial 4
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