"Turning" Structured Practice
How to Drive a Car: Turns
Turning is an important driving skill that’s best practiced without the interference of traffic and pedestrians. Take as much time as you need, to make sure your turns are smooth and controlled. You’ll need to be able to make wide turns and tight turns, so choose an empty parking lot that gives you lots of space.
Drivers need to be able to make tight, controlled turns. These are the kinds of turns you’ll be making when you turn right and when you park. You’ll also need to be able to make smooth wider turns. You’ll make wider turns when you turn left or when you’re driving on a curved ramp to enter a highway.
All turns and curves must be controlled. Driving too fast into any curve can cause you to lose control.
Practice these exercises to make sure you understand how your vehicle responds at different speeds.
- Make a large circle around a light standard or signpost. Circle it several times at a constant, slow speed.
- Increase your speed slightly and tighten your circle.
- Make a figure-8 pattern to practice slow, controlled turns in both directions.
- Increase your speed slightly and tighten your turns to get the feel of how the car responds at different speeds
Now that you have a feel for how the car reacts, it’s time to add the other things you need to do when you turn on busy streets.
You’re still practicing in an empty parking lot so you won’t have to worry about other traffic, but it’s still important to practice all the steps so you’ll know what to do when you take it to the street.
Now that you have the feel of turning, practice approaching an intersection and making a turn....but doing it in the parking lot.
During your Learn How To Drive a Car program use these 9 steps every time you make a turn at an intersection:
- As you approach the turn, check your rearview mirror so you know who’s behind you and how close they are. You need to do this well in advance so you don’t get rear-ended by someone who’s following too closely. If they aren’t giving you enough room – gently (and briefly) touch your brakes to let them know you’ll be slowing down soon.
- Check your side mirrors, so you know where the other vehicles are.
- Make sure you’re in the correct turning lane.
- Signal your intent to turn.
- Start slowing down.
- Double-check your mirrors.
- Check right and left into the intersection and assess what other vehicles are doing. (Remember – just because someone else is signaling a turn, it doesn’t mean they’re going to turn and vice-versa!)
- Come to a full stop before you enter any intersection.
- Complete your turn when the way is clear.