Driving Lessons - Left Turns, Major Roads to Minor Roads

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    Jan 26, 2013
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After your Move off and Stop lesson you can now safely and smoothly pull away from a parked position, completing your 6 point mirror checks before you do so, accelerate down the road, change into 2nd gear and bring the car to a safe stop at the side of the road. The next module you are likely to come across is Left Turns.

You may have heard of the Pull and Push method of steering. Although since 2011 this way of steering has no longer been a necessity for the driving test, it is still recommended and examiners like to see it implemented. The main reason for this is because with two hands on the wheel at all times you have much greater control of the car. I became a fan of this steering when in the Police for a couple of years. You really do notice when driving at speed, how much greater control this method gives you over the car. And not just at high speed, with normal driving too. The change is good however as with very tight corners a crossover of the hands can make a turn easier.

So to start with we'll look at left turns from Major to Minor roads. Or put another way, from a Main road to a Side road. As with this type of turn there are no give-way lines in our lane, and we are just turning from the left lane into the side roads left lane, we have the right of way.

On approach, as with parking on the left, we need to go through the MSM procedure. Your instructor would say something like, We'll take the next road on the left... This would prompt you to firstly look for this turn. Once spotted you would check your rear view mirror, followed by the left wing mirror, and then indicate. Then if you haven't started to already you would start to brake gently - this can however depend on the gradient of the road you're on.

The position we're looking to be in for this turn is a Normal driving position, as with all left turns. As you approach you then need to have a look into the road you're turning in to to spot any obstructions that might alter your course or initially prevent you from entering i.e. pedestrians crossing, packed cars etc. We then look for our turning point.

Obviously you don't want to turn too early and clip the kerb - very easily causing damage to a tyre - and you don't want to turn too late, and turn in too wide in case there is oncoming traffic. You need to keep the car straight and not creep towards the kerb too early, and start to turn as the nose of the car reaches the point where the kerb starts to go around the corner. So in simple terms we follow the kerb.

Once into the new side road and the car is straight again, you need to check your rear view mirror again to see what is now behind you, and then gently and progressively accelerate away.

And you have completed your first turn. You may not be perfect to start with! But a little practice and you'll pick it up quickly. Next we will cover left turns from a give-way junction.


Jason Vines

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