Learn to Drive

Driving lesson brief M4. Turn in the road

The purpose of the turn in the road manoeuvre is to turn the car to face the opposite direction by diagonally pulling forwards and reversing backwards across the road. At this stage in the programme you should have mastered all the component skills that make up this manoeuvre namely; the angle start, reversing to the left and reversing to the right. The key to this manoeuvre is quick hands, slow feet – fast steering and slow speed via good clutch control.

target Lesson objectives
By the end of this lesson you should be able to:

  • Explain when it would not be safe, legal or convenient to carry out this manoeuvre
  • Briskly turn full right lock as you drive the car very slowly towards the far side kerb and then rapidly straighten the wheels just prior to reaching the kerb
  • Briskly turn full left lock as you reverse the car very slowly towards the near side kerb and then rapidly straighten the wheels just prior to reaching the kerb
  • Repeat the above steps as necessary before completing the final step of the manoeuvre
  • Use clutch control to deal with any upward and then downward slope caused by the camber in the road
  • Take all round observations before and during each step of the manoeuvre remembering to look over your left and then your right hand shoulder as you reverse
  • Apply the hand brake properly between each step
  • Deal correctly with other road users
  • Complete the exercise on wide and narrow roads with differing cambers and on roads with occasional traffic

Lesson Brief
The turn-in-the-road manoeuvre combines several skills that you have mastered during your driving lessons. If you found yourself in a dead end road it might be the only manoeuvre that you could use to turn around safely.

The start of the turn (i.e. point ‘A’) is similar to an ‘angle-start’. As you move across to point ‘B’, you will be using clutch-control to maintain a slow, safe speed and using your observation skills to keep a look out all around for other vehicles. After you have stopped at point ‘B’, you will reverse to the left (after a slight uphill start). Finally, moving off from point ‘C’ you will again do a slight uphill start using the same observation and speed control that you would use when emerging from a narrow road to turn right.

The additional learning points for this manoeuvre are as follows:

  1. Location
    Choose a location that is quiet and where you have as much room as possible. Avoid locations where there are trees or posts or other obstructions near or on the kerb. Keep away from parked vehicles and ensure that you will be easily seen by approaching traffic. Once your vehicle is broad side across the road (i.e. in positions B or C in the earlier diagram) you are very vulnerable to approaching traffic from either direction.
  2. Steering
    Being able to briskly change the lock of the steering wheel just before you reach point B and point C is the key to completing the manoeuvre in as few movements as possible.

  3. Handbrake and clutch control
    The camber of the road may require you to apply the handbrake at point B and C to prevent the car from rolling forward and backwards respectively. It will also require you to use your previously learnt clutch control and braking skills.

  4. All round awareness
    All round observations are particularly important to this manoeuvre as you need to be aware of traffic approaching from either side of your vehicle while watching for pedestrians who might cross from the front or the rear. Therefore when you are moving forward you are continually looking from side to side while looking ahead. When reversing you continually move from looking over your left shoulder to your right shoulder as appropriate.

  5. Dealing with other vehicles
    The manoeuvre should not be started until the road is clear of traffic in both directions. Once you have completed the first leg you would allow any traffic that had accumulated to pass behind you if they wanted to, before commencing the second leg. Similarly before commencing the third leg you would allow any traffic that had accumulated to pass in front of you if they wanted to. The same would apply if it took further movements forwards and backwards to complete the manoeuvre.
  6. Number of movements needed
    It may not always be possible to complete the manoeuvre in three legs or movements. Additional movements forward and backwards may be needed particularly if the road is very narrow. The procedure for these additional movements is basically the same.