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  • Driving test manoeuvres - Three point turn

    Print the three point turn PDF tutorial

    The examiner will ask you to park up during your driving test on several occasions. This is to demonstrate that you do not mount or hit the curb and also that you park safely taking other road users into account. The reason the examiner may ask you to park up is to perform a driving test manoeuvre. As of October 3rd 2010 you only have to perform one manoeuvre on your driving test. One of the more common manoeuvres is the 3 point turn or turn in the road as it is also referred to.

    A. Before starting the three point turn manoeuvre, ensure it is safe to do so by checking your main mirror, right mirror and the blind spot to your right. Three key skills are required in order to successfully perform this manoeuvre. These are: 
    Control - The car must be kept slow, imagine a slow walking pace. Simultaneously, as you move the car, steering must be very fast. 
    Accuracy - Try to avoid touching the curbs. 
    Effective observation - Continuous all round observation must be made.

    B. When you are satisfied it is safe to perform the three point turn, move your car off slowly using clutch control and a soon as you start to move, steer as fast as you can to full right lock. 
    As the front of the car reaches one metre from the curb (give yourself a reference point here if unsure. For example where the curb to your right comes into the car at a certain point, that can be your reference point to steer left.) turn the steering wheel to the left. One turn should be enough. 
    Fully depress the clutch and gently brake to a stop. 
    Apply the handbrake and select reverse gear.

    If you manage to keep the car very slow, before you get to the curb look up and down the road to check for other road users or pedestrians. If a car or cyclist approaches, stop your car and allow them to pass. If they stop and wait, continue with the manoeuvre. Avoid driving towards any pedestrians on the pavement. Again stop the car until they have passed.

    C. To ensure you do not roll forward and knock the curb, find the clutch biting point. Before the car moves, take effective observations. Take a good look up and down the road, again if any approaching road users, stop and allow them to pass or if they stop and wait, look out the rear windscreen, moving off slowly and steering as fast as possible to full left lock.

    Again, as you are crossing the road, take a look up and down for approaching traffic and around half way into the road, look over your right shoulder at the curb as this should now be the point closest to the car. Approximately one metre from the curb (again give yourself a reference point where the curb comes into the car) steer to the right. One turn should do it. You will not fail the driving test if you do not steer at this point, it just makes the manoeuvre easier for you to complete as it straightens the wheels a little before you drive off the opposite direction.

    D. After you steer to the right, depress the clutch to the floor and gently apply the foot brake to stop the car. Apply the handbrake and select first gear. To eliminate rolling backwards and hitting the curb, once again find the clutch biting point. Before moving the car off, take a good look up and down the road each way and if you are happy it is clear or traffic is happy to wait for you, then move off slowly again using clutch control and steer briskly to the right.

    If during this manoeuvre you feel that completing the exercise in three points may result in hitting the curb then make it a five point turn. Providing you do the manoeuvre safely, the examiner should be happy with this.

    If you do manage to hit the curb then your last resort is to ask the examiner if you can try again. Time permitting he or she may well let you. If successful you should still go on to pass your driving test.