← Back to Beginner Driver's Guide

6 Steps of a Three Point Turn That Help You Breeze Through Your Driving Test

Updated on

Successfully completing a 3-point turn (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 3-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

    Move to the outer part of the lane

    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

    Check your rear view mirror

    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

    Check for other cars behind or in front of you<

    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

    POINT 1: ← Turn your steering wheel all the way to the left, approach the edge of the opposing lane

    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

    POINT 2: ↓ Shift into reverse, → turn your steering wheel to the right and back up towards the side of the road you originally started in

    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

    POINT 3: ↑ Shift back into forward and steer left to begin driving in the lane opposite of the one you started in

    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.

Take a free DMV practice test

You may also like:

How To Drive a Stick Shift in 9 Easy Steps

Some people call it learning how to drive stick or how to drive a manual. Whatever you call it, both are the same. Many drivers never learn how to drive a car with a manual transmission, or stick shift. The ability to drive a stick shift will allow you to drive any type of vehicle regardless of it being an automatic or manual. When first learning how to drive this type of vehicle, it is best to find a large parking lot or empty street on which to ...

Driver’s Exam 101: 4 Excellent Tips to Increase Your Odds

Taking the driving exam is one of the biggest milestones in American adolescence. Nothing is more nerve-racking than preparing for and completing your driving exam so that, hopefully, you can hit the road as soon as you turn sixteen.Just like with any other exam you might take in school, there are specific things that you can do to increase your chances of performing well on the driver’s exam. You should never just wing it. Below are some helpf ...

5 Trusted Driving Test Tips: How to Pass the First Time

Getting your driver’s license is an exciting venture and life changing experience, but it is also a big responsibility. Taking the driving test can be a little nerve wracking, but there are ways you can prepare that will help ensure that you pass that test, with flying colors, on the very first try. So before you head out to take that important driving test, learn a little about some tips and methods you can apply to your situation to help guarant ...