Driving test manoeuvres: how to turn in the road

Sometimes you take a wrong turn or you simply need to retrace your steps, and instead of driving for miles looking for somewhere to turn round (or you might be in a cul de sac), the easiest way is to turn round in the road.

As with all driving test manoeuvres, your examiner will be looking for you to execute this one smoothly, safely and slowly, remaining in control at all times and without touching the kerbs. That means being aware at all times of what’s going on around you, things helped by keeping your speed to a minimum. 

Choose somewhere with good visibility, no hazards in the road or on the pavement and where there’s plenty of room to make the turn

How it’s done

Your examiner will ask you to pull over where it’s safe, so you can turn in the road. You’ll have a good idea of where to make your turn, because you’ll already be in the street where you’re going to do it. However, you’ll be left to work out the exact point at which you’re going to turn round.

Choose somewhere with good visibility, no hazards in the road or on the pavement and where there’s plenty of room to make the turn – the wider the road (within reason) the easier it is. Don’t turn too near any junctions, parked cars or driveways, in case another road user suddenly appears.

Start by pulling in to the left, having signalled if necessary. Once you’ve stopped, cancel your indicator and check all round to see if it’s clear. Then, having checked your blind spots with over-the-shoulder checks, engage first gear and keeping your speed to a minimum by slipping the clutch if necessary, turn the steering wheel fully to the right. The idea is to get the car completely across the road – or even slightly pointing the opposite way – as you drive up to the opposite kerb.

Just before you get to the kerb, turn the steering wheel fully to the left – by keeping your speed right down, you’ll have plenty of time to change the way your wheels are pointing, so you’re not rushing. As you get close to the kerb, engage the clutch, brake to a halt then apply the handbrake.

Next, select reverse gear, find the clutch biting point and release the handbrake to start reversing towards the kerb at which you started, once you’ve made sure that it’s still clear all around. Make sure the steering wheel is turned fully to the left during this part of the manoeuvre, but as you get close to the original kerb, turn the steering wheel to the right.

As you approach the kerb, stop, apply the handbrake and select first gear. Having checked that all around is still clear and safe, set off in the opposite direction to when you started then pull in to the left and stop so the examiner can assess your manoeuvre. Stop, apply the handbrake and select neutral, then await further instructions from the examiner.