Left Turns & Right Turns

On this lesson, you will learn how to turn left and right from a major (main) road into a minor (side road).

At every left and right turn, you will use the M S P S L routine.

This stands for:

Check 2 mirrors to assess the speed and distance of other road users

Indicate in good time

Get into the correct position

Speed (and gear)
Slow down (and change gear if necessary)

Check if it is safe to turn just before steering

Left Turns

When you are asked to ‘take the next road on the left’, you will look ahead to identify the turning. You are looking for clues to tell you where the junction is, like:

  • Gaps in houses or hedges
  • Following the shape of the kerb
  • Give way lines
  • Other road users who may be turning in or out of the junction

Once you have identified the junction you can start to follow the hazard routine.


Check your middle mirror

  • What is following you?
  • How close is it to you?
  • How will it be affected if you slow down?

Check your left door mirror

  • You are looking out for cyclists


  • Press the indicator stalk down when you are about 4-6 car lengths away from the junction (this depends on how fast you are travelling, what is following behind you and how close it is – if it is too close you might signal a bit earlier to warn them about what you are about to do)
    (Your brake pedal is another signal. When you press the brake pedal the brake lights at the back of the car will illuminate


  • You should keep the car in your normal driving position (1 metre from the kerb) or move to the left. This depends on how wide the road is.
  • As you turn into the road, follow the kerb to keep the same position

Speed (and gear)

  • You will reduce the speed to about 10 mph or less.
    If you are at 10 mph or above you will probably select 2nd gear.
    If you are below 10 mph you will probably select 1st gear.
    (Your speed and gear will depend on the shape and gradient of the road, and whether you have to give way to anyone)


Just before you turn you need to check it is safe to do so.

  • Look ahead at traffic approaching you – are they trying to turn in to the same road?
  • Look in your left door mirror – is there a cyclist there?
  • Look in to the road you are about to enter – are there any pedestrians crossing or about to cross the road?


If a pedestrian is crossing the road you are about to turn into, then they have priority to continue. You should wait on the road you are on until it’s safe to continue. Do not start to steer into the new road until the pedestrian has crossed over the road, this can be intimidating for them.

New Road… New Mirrors

Once you are in the new road, and before you speed up, check your middle and right door mirrors.
You are checking if it is safe to speed up, and that no-one is overtaking you.

Right Turns

You have already covered left turns and the hazard routine you will use to turn.

You will use the same hazard routine to turn right, but this time you need to make sure it is safe to turn right across oncoming traffic.


  • Check your middle mirror
  • Check your right door mirror. Is anyone overtaking you?


  • Indicate right in good time


  • If it is safe to do so, move to the right of your lane, close to the centre lines. This lets other vehicles pass you on the left and it helps other road users know what you about to do

Speed (and gear)

  • You will reduce the speed for the turn
  • Your gear will depend on the speed you get to


  • Look well ahead for gaps in the approaching traffic
  • Watch out especially for cyclists and motorcyclists, they are smaller and harder to see

Think….what can’t I see???

  • Look well ahead to check that no-one is overtaking the oncoming traffic
  • Look into the new road. Is it safe to turn into? Are there any parked cars? Are pedestrians crossing?
  • Just before turning check your right door mirror again to make sure no-one is overtaking you

New Road… New Mirrors

Once you are in the new road, and before you speed up, check your middle and right door mirrors.
You are checking if it is safe to speed up, and that no-one is overtaking you.

Is It Safe To Turn?

When turning right you need to work out if it is safe to turn in front of oncoming traffic. You need to consider:

  • How far away are they?
  • How fast are they travelling?
  • Are you going to moving away uphill or downhill?

Think about walking across the road.

You have done this lots of time so you will have a good idea of when it is safe to cross.

You can use the:

The W A D A Rule
(Walk Across Drive Across)

This means, if you would be happy to Walk across the road (this is from one kerb to the other kerb), then you will probably have time to Drive across the road.

This will depend on:

  • Whether you are prepared to move away (gas and bite set)
  • When you make the decision (not make the decision and then wait before starting to move)

When turning right it is important to:

  • Choose a safe time to cross and not cause other traffic to stop, slow or swerve.
  • Choose a safe place to start to turn so that you do not steer too late or too early

Missed Turn

If you miss a turning to the left or right, do not cause a problem by stopping suddenly. Go past the junction and your instructor will re-direct you. This is the same in your lessons or your driving test. Your instructor and the examiner are looking for safe driving.