Learn How to Do a Basic Three Point Turn in 6 Simple Steps

Last updated:

Successfully completing a three point turn is a common requirement for most driver’s license examinations. Similar to parallel parking, the three point turn is often an area of concern for individuals who are preparing to obtain their license. While most drivers only occasionally use this strategy when it is absolutely necessary, the ability to complete a three point turn is a useful skill for every driver to have. When you practice doing a three point turn for the first time, make sure you are on a street with very little traffic so that you can take your time. Also, it is a good idea to find a location without any ditches, mailboxes, or other major obstacles on either side.

Use the following steps as a guide for your first attempt at doing a three point turn.

6 Simple Steps for a Successful Three Point Turn

  1. 1

    As you near the area in which you plan to practice a three point turn for the first time, move to the outer part of the lane. This will create more room in which you can maneuver your vehicle.

  2. 2

    Before stopping, check your rear view mirror for traffic. Do not attempt a three point turn on a busy roadway. In fact, three point turns should only be used in emergency situations. It is safer and easier to find a driveway or parking lot in which to turn around.

  3. 3

    Stop your vehicle. Again, check for any other cars either behind or in front of you. Performing a three point turn will take several seconds. If at all possible, you do not want to obstruct the roadway for other drivers, especially if you are only performing a three point turn for practice and not out of necessity.

  4. 4

    After stopping and ensuring there are no other vehicles approaching in either direction, turn your steering wheel all the way to the left and accelerate your vehicle until it nears the edge of the opposing lane. This is the first point.

  5. 5

    Quickly check again for traffic. Shift your vehicle into reverse. Using your rear view and side mirrors, slowly turn your steering wheel to the right and begin to back your vehicle towards the edge of the side of the road you originally started in. This is the second point.

  6. 6

    Check for approaching vehicles once more. Shift your car back into forward and steer left so that you begin driving in the lane opposite of the one you started in. This is the third point and the conclusion of the three point turn driving maneuver.

Remember, the three point turn driving strategy should only be used if there are no other options available.

three point turn quote
Worth keeping in mind

If you are hesitant about performing a three point turn because of the amount of traffic on a roadway, continue driving until you find a safer means of changing the direction of your vehicle. After a few practices, you should feel confident in your ability to successfully complete a three point turn and have no problem demonstrating the skill during your driver’s license examination. If you ever need to turn your vehicle around in a tight spot during an emergency situation, you will know that you can do so quickly and efficiently using a three point turn.