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7- Turning Around

Goal: Teach your teen the best ways to turn a vehicle around in various circumstances.

Location: Start on a quiet neighborhood street with accessible driveways. Please be respectful of neighbors and private property. Move to a multi-lane road for U-turns, if legally allowed in your area.

Lesson one – turning around safely

Start by coaching your teen that the safest and easiest way to turn around is to drive around the block. The less backing up you need to do, the better! But since that’s not always possible, it’s important to practice other ways to turn around.

Lesson two – three-point turns

This more challenging turn should only be done when there is no available driveway. Three-point turns block both sides of a two-lane road, so coach your teen to make absolutely sure that the traffic is clear in both directions:

Practice three-point turns at least 10 times each.

  • Pull as far to the right as possible to maximize room to maneuver.
  • Turn sharply across the road until the car is perpendicular, facing the curb.
  • Continue checking for traffic in both directions.
  • Put the car in reverse and back up , turning sharply in the other direction, into the original lane,
    but now facing the opposite direction.
  • Shift into drive and pull forward into the correct lane, driving straight ahead.

Lesson three – U-turns

First explain that U-turns can be very dangerous, and should only be done where they are legal.

  • Begin the U-turn in the left lane, closest to the center line or median.
  • Be sure there is enough room to make the turn without hitting the curb or any parked cars.
  • Signal to indicate the direction of the turn, checking carefully for oncoming traffic.
  • Move forward, turning the wheel sharply to turn around.
  • Finish the U-turn in the opposite direction and accelerate to an appropriate speed.

Backing up

As a general note, when you back the vehicle up and you are properly positioned in the driver seat, with your left hand on the steering wheel at the 12 o’clock position, the way you move your hand is the way that the rear of the vehicle will move.