How to Do a 3-Point Turn for the Driving Test (Video Included)

December 1, 2020

A 3-point turn is the way out when you want to turn around and return to the direction you are coming from but the road is just too narrow for a quick U-turn. Also known as K-turn or turn-about, it is one of the maneuvering skills required of a trainee taking a driving test.

The examiner would want to ascertain that you could safely, accurately and legally make this turn. Your steering techniques will be weighed by every turn you take. That is why anyone planning to take a driving test to get a license needs to practice the 3-point turn alongside other driving test tips. This process alone could determine whether you fail or pass the test.

What Is The First Thing To Do When You Make A Three-Point Turn?

The first thing to do when making a DMV 3 point turn is to ensure that there are no obstacles or potential hazards such as ditches or wide and deep. There should be no oncoming vehicles or pedestrians close to the space you intend to do the turn-about maneuvering.

The 3-point turn is one occasion that you can easily cause an accident, by colliding with a coming vehicle or knocking a pedestrian. Check your rear-view mirror; never try this turning process on a busy road or on bends where an unseen vehicle is likely to pop in any time.

How Do You Do A 3-Point Turn On a Road Test?

The Preparation: Slow Down, Move Outward

Once you have ensured that the road is clear, slow down and move to the outer part of your lane as you approach the spot where you intend to do the three-point turn. This is meant to create extra room for you to maneuver the car. You then stop briefly. This is still preparation for the 3-point.

Remember not to use driveway if you are doing a 3-point turn as part of a driving test because the examiner will consider it a positioning error. You may not be penalized, but should you commit another mistake the examiner can’t afford to turn a blind eye again.

Check for Other Cars (and Pedestrians)

As you slow down and move outward, you should simultaneously be checking for other cars and walking people in front or behind you.

Point 1: Steer To The Opposite Lane

Having ensured no immediate vehicles are coming from either direction, steer to the left and move the car across the road up to the edge of the opposing lane. This is considered your first point of the 3-point turn.

Point 2: Reverse

Steer to the right while reversing to your original lane. You should be forming an arc so that by the time you stop, the head of the car is facing the direction initially came from. The back should be on where you were heading.

Do not neglect to check the traffic even if you are sure the road is clear. The examiner wants to see you acting like a safety-minded driver. Do not assume things while taking a driving test.

Point 3: Take the New Lane

It is now time to move forward. Ensure there are no approaching cars before you shift into forward mode again then steer left to drive in the lane that was originally beside yours. This is the third and last point of the 3-point turn. You have completed the maneuver if you are here, with no incident behind you.

Here’s a video that summarizes the steps in doing a 3-point turn:

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do You Signal For a 3-Point Turn?

In the preparation stage, turn on your right signals to let the drivers coming from behind or ahead know that you have pulled over and they can pass. In every other stage, indicate your intent before you make a move.

By the time you do the 3-point turn, you need to have learned how to use turn signals on the road effectively.

What are the 3 Points in Driving?

The 3 points start when you cross from your lane to the far end of the parallel lane. The second part begins when you reverse to face the back while the last part is when you finally move forward to the direction you originally came from.

When Am I Likely To Use a 3-Point Turn?

You are likely to use a 3-point turn when you realize you made a wrong turn, meaning you are heading the wrong direction. Another situation you need a 3-point turn is when you need to park on the opposite street side.

But 3-point turn shouldn’t be a normal driving process that you do anytime you wish; it is reserved for emergencies.

This is because it is risky if the road is busy; it takes a couple of seconds to do the 3-point turn and during this time you are an obstruction — no pedestrian or vehicle can pass comfortably. Again, you cannot always foresee every danger that comes with it in a given road.

How Many Times Do You Indicate In A 3-Turn?

You are only supposed to use the indicator when you pull to start the process. Once you have alerted the other vehicles, there is no need to keep indicating every move you make next, or you may get confused.

Is 3-point Turn Helpful?

The 3-point turn, once mastered, saves time because without it, you may have to drive to the end of the road or up to a point the road is spacious. This could turn out to be more than a kilometer away.

Wrap Up

Before you even begin to do the 3-point turn, ensure you know exactly what you are going to do. If you are tense during the test, this is one instance you can get more confused and forget what exactly you were about to do. It is not so complicated, but you need the confidence to pull it off. Your best safeguard on how to do a 3 point turn is thorough practice.

Away from the driving test, always drive until you find a better space to carry out the 3-point turn. And when you do it, try and take as little time as possible so as not to inconvenience other road users for long.