« « How to deal with bad drivers | Know your red lines » »

Master the U-turn safely

As you become more adept at manoeuvring, you’ll appreciate why a U-turn is a potentially dangerous move. In one complete manoeuvre, you undertake a 180-degree turn in the road so that your car ends up facing in the opposite direction. Don’t confuse this with a three-point turn which involves reversing. But why is it considered dangerous? Although it’s legal to make a U-turn in the UK, there are situations where the manoeuvre is prohibited and here you’ll see a ‘No U-turn’ sign displaying a red outer circle surrounding a black ‘U’ with a line through it. It’s also illegal to make the U-turn if you cross a kerb, cross double white lines in the centre of the road or on a one-way street. It should really be your last resort, for example, if the road ahead is blocked. However, the U-turn is often performed when a driver misses a turn, and often the result of a rushed decision with less thought for road safety. If you’re in doubt, pull up on the side of the road, consider your options, then make an informed decision. Ask yourself: is it safe and legal to make a U-turn here? Will I endanger or inconvenience other road users? Is the road wide enough to complete the manoeuvre in one turn? Is there clear visibility? If you must perform a U-turn it will take a few seconds to complete, so make sure the oncoming traffic is clear before starting the manoeuvre and double check for motorcyclists and cyclists. When it’s safe to do so, check your mirrors, indicate right, check your mirrors again (including any blind spots), then make the turn. Alternatively, just turn left or right at the next junction, following the traffic laws, before joining the road again in the right direction.