three point turn

How to Do a 3 Point Turn in Four Easy Steps

Zutobi
by Zutobi · Updated Feb 03, 2021

There are few things more annoying and time-consuming than driving on a road in the wrong direction but finding no available side-streets to use to change direction. Luckily, there is a basic manoeuvre called the three point turn that is used if you need to turn your car around in a tight space.

What is a 3 Point Turn?

The 3 point turn enables you to turn on a narrow road by turning the steering wheel and moving your vehicle three times (which is where the “three” in the name comes from). 

The three point turn is the turn-of-choice when you need to turn around on a road that is too narrow for you to make a U-turn. In addition, you are expected to know and be able to perform the three-point turn during the driving test if you live in New South Wales or South Australia.

What this means for Australians is that this is a must-know turn; new drivers must know how to perform a three-point turn to get their driving licence, and more experienced drivers should know how to perform it due to how useful it actually is in a number of situations.

A 3 point turn

A Step-by-Step Guide on How To Do a 3-Point Turn

You need to continuously look for traffic while performing a three-point turn due to how long it takes to complete. Traffic can arrive quickly, especially on high-speed roads. Follow these simple steps.

  1. Pull over to the left side of the road and wait until traffic is clear
  2. Turn the steering wheel to the right, then turn right across the road
  3. Turn the steering wheel to the left, then reverse
  4. Turn the steering wheel right, then straighten up and move into the correct lane

Step #1 – pull over to the left side of the road and wait until traffic is clear

Before you begin the manoeuvre, you should first signal and pull over to the left side of the road. Stay on the side of the road until traffic is clear and you have plenty of room in both directions to perform the 3-point turn. 

But just as importantly, you start from the far left side of the road to get as much use of the road as possible as you manoeuvre your vehicle.

Step #2 – turn the steering wheel to the right, then turn right across the road

After waiting for a safe gap in traffic, you want to signal right and turn the steering wheel all the way to the right. Turning the steering wheel all the way will enable you to get the maximum change in direction from the turn. Then turn right across the road to the kerb on the opposite side of the road.

Step #3 – turn the steering wheel to the left, then reverse

The next step is to turn the steering wheel all the way to the left. Once you have turned the wheel all the way to the left, reverse until you reach the kerb.

Step #4 – turn the steering wheel right, then straighten up and move into the correct lane

After you have reversed into the kerb, you will be situated on the wrong side of the road. To get back into the proper lane, simply turn the steering wheel once more to the right and straighten your vehicle up by driving forward and moving into the correct lane.

When Should You Do a Three-Point Turn?

A 3-point turn takes more time than traditional turns and you need plenty of space in both directions to perform the turn safely. As many roads are too busy to provide you with this amount of space, you need to take other traffic into consideration before you begin the turn.

You should not perform a 3-point turn if the turn will disrupt the traffic flow or it is unsafe.

Doing a Three-Point Turn on the Driving Test

Here are 5 tips to successfully complete a three-point turn on the driving test:

  1. Practice on empty roads
  2. Let the turn take its time (i.e. do not force the turn)
  3. Turn the steering wheels all the way for each step (or these steps won’t be enough)
  4. Continuously look for traffic in your mirrors
  5. If you can find an easier solution (like a U-turn), use it instead

If you need additional tips and tricks, simply go to the Zutobi Drivers Ed website to prepare for your Learners Test or Practical Driving Test in Australia. Zutobi is the most popular app in Australia for driver training, and we have great courses for each state. We cover everything from the rules of the road to the most advanced driving manoeuvers. 

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