Turning Your Vehicle Around

Turning your vehicle around can take two main forms: a three-point turn (a turn in the road) or a five-point turn (a U-turn). Both of these manoeuvres require some fairly complex skills, which can unnerve some drivers. The type of turn that you should do will often be dependent on the type of road on which you are driving, as well as the road markings and road signs.

Turns in the Road

A turn in the road involves turning and reversing, and is used to turn a vehicle around so that it is facing in the opposite direction. It is used when it is not possible to use a side road to perform the turn.

The usual way of conducting a turn in the road is to move to the side of the road, turn your wheels to the side, pull across to the opposite kerb, turn your wheels to the other side, reverse until your back wheels are almost touching the opposite kerb and correct your steering so that your wheels are back pointing in a central direction. At this point, you can move off as soon as it safe to do so, as you should now be pointing in the right direction.

In the first phase of the turn, turn the wheel as far to the right as you can and then hold it steady while moving across the road until you are around a yard from the kerb. At this point, counter steer, move slowly and brake around a foot before the kerb. Apply the handbrake and select neutral.

In the middle phase of the turn, you need to be extremely accurate to avoid hitting the kerbs at the start and end. Turn the wheel as far to the left as you can and hold it steady throughout this phase. As before, brake around a foot from the kerb, apply the handbrake and select reverse gear.

The 'three-point turn' name comes from the fact that you must perform three (or sometimes more) separate manoeuvres to complete the turn.

Large steering movements are necessary to complete the turn as smoothly as possible. Maintaining a tight control over your vehicle at all times is essential, both in terms of speed and steering.



This involves making a full 180 degree turn in the road. The 'U-turn' part of the name comes from the fact that the turn takes a 'U' shape.

Illegal U-Turns

A U-turn is considered to be illegal if one of the following happens:

  • You cross a kerb
  • You cross double white lines in the centre of the road (unless there is a gap between them)
  • Road markings or signs indicate 'No U-turns'
  • You are on a one-way street

If you are unable to make a U-turn, a turn in the road is the better option.

Things to Consider

It is important to consider other road users when performing either of the turns. This involves checking both your mirrors and your blind spot to make sure that it is safe to move off during each of the separate elements - do not try to perform either turn (particularly the three-point turn) as one single manoeuvre as it will rarely be safe to do so. If other vehicles approach, complete the phase of the turn before, and then let them pass before you continue the rest of the turn.

Keep an eye out for hazards such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists in particular, as they can approach seemingly out of nowhere. If pedestrians approach, let them move away before you carry on the phase of the turn that you were about to complete.


Disclaimer: The information in the article is for general purpose information only and should not be constituted as legal advice. This article has been produced by a third party and Jardine Motors does not take any responsibility for the completeness, accuracy, or reliability with respect to the website or the information provided. Article last updated May 2020.