A three-point turn is a moderate vehicular maneuver that involves turning a vehicle around on a roadway to drive in the opposite direction when there is nowhere to pull off the road to turn around.
The three-point turn or three-point turnabout is typically done on narrow roads where a simple U-turn cannot be performed.
It looks like this –
It is a standard way to turn around when there are no adjacent or perpendicular roads or drives to pull into (or off in) to turn around more seamlessly.
How To Do a 3-Point Turn (3-Point Turn Steps)
A three-point turn requires a strong curving turn, followed by backing up, and then a soft turn forward.
To perform a three-point turnabout:
- Look to the roadway ahead and check your mirrors to make sure the roadway is completely clear both ahead of and behind you.
- Pull as close as possible to the side of the road or curb on the side of the road you are driving on. (It’s safe practice to stop here and check the roadway again before starting your turn.)
- Turn your steering wheel fully to the left as you turn toward the other side of the road to keep your turn as tight as possible. Stop when you can no longer turn without hitting the curb or going off the side of the road.
- Put the car in reverse and turn the steering wheel fully to the right as you back up. Back up as far as necessary to give yourself enough clearance to turn into the lane you want to travel in.
- Return the car to drive, and turn into the appropriate lane going the opposite direction. Drive forward.
3-point Turn Driving Test
The three-point turn is the most common turn required in driving tests.
Depending on where you live, this test may be performed on a closed track with cones or on the open road.
To perfect a three-point turn for a driving test, practice driving on a narrow, two-lane road with limited traffic.
Choose different spots on the road to turn around.
Once you get used to the 3-point turn, it will become more intuitive, much like looking over your shoulder before changing lanes.
Risks of a Three-Point Turn
Three-point turns should not be used in cities or towns where there are plenty of opportunities to turn around and regular traffic.
The greatest danger of a three-point turn is that it leaves you in the middle of the road for an extended period of time.
During most of the three-point turn, your car also blocks BOTH lanes of traffic.
Ideally, you would only use this turn on a country route with few businesses or houses and no other place to turn around.
If there are any adjacent roads or drives, a two-point turn is almost always the safer option.
The biggest danger during a three-point turn is other cars.
Another car can come up on you at any point during this turn, and you will be blocking the roadway.
That’s why, when making a 3-point turn, the most important thing is to be constantly aware of oncoming traffic in either direction.
Before even starting this turn, it’s essential to ensure the road is clear for a substantial distance either way.
Since ensuring the roadway is clear is imperative for making this turn safely, it should only be performed on a section of road with excellent visibility both ways.