08 Sep Turning Right At A Busy Junction
It’s not uncommon for learner drivers to be apprehensive of turning right at junctions, especially if they are busy, and certainly the manoeuvre is potentially more challenging than turning left as you have two lanes of traffic to consider instead of one.
Timing is key, especially if you cannot rely on the goodwill of other motorists to allow you the time and space, but turning right is an essential skill that you simply must master in preparation for your driving examination.
Of course, your qualified driving instructor will ensure that you gain the confidence and skills to complete the manoeuvre safely, but the key points of turning right are outlined below:
Identifying The Junction
Failing to identify a junction in good time is a common reason why some candidates do not pass their test, so look carefully for the signs that you are approaching: give way and stop signs and traffic lights. Remember, in residential areas there may not be any of these markers, so slow down and look for traffic crossing perpendicular to you or white road markings indicating a junction.
Signalling Your Intentions
As you approach the junction, remember to check your main rear-view mirror and right wing mirror before signalling that you intend to turn right. Even if there appears to be no other traffic as you approach the junction, you must signal anyway, as a break in the traffic might give the impression that the road ahead is quiet. Assume that it is not.
Manoeuvre Into Position
You need to come to a halt just to the left of the centre of the road, allowing space for cars turning to the left to pass by the nearside of your vehicle if space allows. Make sure that the nose of the car does not encroach over the white line as this will place you in danger and potentially cause you to fail your test.
Assess The Traffic Conditions
In busy traffic, you need to take the time to assess the traffic conditions carefully and to resist pulling out into the first available space. If the junction is ‘closed’ – that is, it’s surrounded by hedges or other obstructions that make obtaining a clear view difficult – even more care will be necessary. Look out for pedestrians and cyclists, remembering that they may not be easily visible in wet or misty weather.
Judge When To Pull Out Safely
This is potentially the most difficult part of the manoeuvre. You will need to wait for a gap to appear in the traffic that allows you to pull out without causing vehicles approaching from either direction to slow for you. If a car slows down or flashes its headlights, you must not assume that it is allowing you to pull out.
When a gap appears to open up in the traffic and you have double-checked for approaching cyclists from either direction, you should complete the manoeuvre smoothly and promptly. Never pull out knowing that you can only reach halfway and be forced to a standstill in the middle of the road, as this poses a danger to other drivers.
Complete a 90 degree turn to the right, moving off from first gear, and proceed along the road, checking your rear view mirror once more to ensure that traffic isn’t approaching too quickly from behind.
Completing a right hand turn at a busy junction takes time, patience and accurate judgement, but with practice and advice from your driving instructor, you’ll be able to make the turn safely and with confidence.