Turning is one of the basic maneuvers of driving and also one of the most important. When making right turns, left turns, and U-turns, always remember to do the following steps:
- Signal and slow down or brake before the turn
It’s important to signal before reducing your speed, as this is how you’ll warn vehicles behind you of your intentions of turning. Remember that you must signal 100 feet before turns in residential/city driving areas and 200 feet in highway/rural areas. When making a turn at an intersection without a stop sign or red light, it is not required that you come to a complete stop, but you’ll still need to slow down to a safe speed and be aware of other cars coming from all directions.
- Scan through the turn to the center of the lane
Scan the stopping area for potential hazards such as other vehicles, pedestrians, or debris in the roadway. Then, identify the proper lane before turning and aim for the center of the lane.
- Use the hold-and-turn method with lesser turns
With the hold-and-turn (sometimes known as the pull-push-slide) steering method, your hands do not cross each other. This method is only used in situations where you are traveling around a curve.
- Use the hand-over-hand method with sharper turns
As the name suggests, your hands are going to cross each other while turning the wheel. Hand-over-hand may feel awkward at first, but it’s the proper and safest method for making a turn. By having both hands on the wheel, you are prepared to make a quick, evasive action if need be mid-turn.
- Accelerate out of the turn when safe
At the halfway point of the turn, begin accelerating gently and you’ll feel the vehicle begin to straighten itself out. Don’t let go of the wheel totally, but gently hold on and allow it to move back to the centered position. Hand-over-hand method will require some practice.
It’s important for beginner drivers to learn and executive these steps in order to do a proper turn. Practice these techniques in a large, open parking lot, or another area without traffic or pedestrians. Interested in learning more? For more safe driving tips for teen drivers, click here.