Emerging right is once again slightly more difficult than emerging left simply because there are more road users to consider. You must cross one lane of traffic before joining a gap in the traffic on the other lane. It’s the same routine as always though.
You will need to identify the junction and collect information about it throughout the approach.
You will need to check your MIRRORS as per the Highway Code. You will want to specifically look for motorcyclists who might be approaching on your right as you mirror and signal and adjust your position. If there are vehicles behind you take a moment to decide if what you do next will cause them any problems.
Mirrors. All mirrors should be used effectively throughout your journey. You should
- use your mirrors frequently so that you always know what is behind and to each side of you
- use them in good time before you signal or change direction or speed
- be aware that mirrors do not cover all areas and there will be blind spots. You will need to look round and check.
Remember: Mirrors – Signal – Manoeuvre
Well before you turn right you should
- use your mirrors to make sure you know the position and movement of traffic behind you
- give a right-turn signal
- take up a position just left of the middle of the road or in the space marked for traffic turning right
- leave room for other vehicles to pass on the left, if possible.
Indicating, or using signals, is a very good way of communicating with other road users and thereby avoiding many of the problems that can occur at junctions. If other people know what you are planning to do then they can act accordingly to keep safe. If you:
- don’t tell other people what you are going to do,
- or if you tell them but don’t give them time to react,
- or if you tell them you are going to do something but then do something else,
there are likely to be problems. When you share the road with other people there is a duty on you to communicate well and in good time.
Signals warn and inform other road users, including pedestrians (see ‘Signals to other road users), of your intended actions. You should always
- give clear signals in plenty of time, having checked it is not misleading to signal at that time
- use them to advise other road users before changing course or direction, stopping or moving off
- cancel them after use
- make sure your signals will not confuse others. If, for instance, you want to stop after a side road, do not signal until you are passing the road. If you signal earlier it may give the impression that you intend to turn into the road. Your brake lights will warn traffic behind you that you are slowing down
- use an arm signal to emphasise or reinforce your signal if necessary. Remember that signalling does not give you priority.
- Following clear indication you need to follow through on your intentions. In emerging right this will involve moving to the right (either in the right hand lane or to the right of the lane you are in) and slowing down. In choosing the correct position you must be guided by signs and road markings so look for those signs early so that you give yourself plenty of time to check it is safe to move over.
If you need to change lane, first use your mirrors and if necessary take a quick sideways glance to make sure you will not force another road user to change course or speed. When it is safe to do so, signal to indicate your intentions to other road users and when clear, move over.
Box junctions. These have criss-cross yellow lines painted on the road (see ‘Road markings’). You MUST NOT enter the box until your exit road or lane is clear. However, you may enter the box and wait when you want to turn right, and are only stopped from doing so by oncoming traffic, or by other vehicles waiting to turn right. At signalled roundabouts you MUST NOT enter the box unless you can cross over it completely without stopping.
Rule 174: Enter a box junction only if your exit road is clear
Dual carriageways. When crossing or turning right, first assess whether the central reservation is deep enough to protect the full length of your vehicle.
- If it is, then you should treat each half of the carriageway as a separate road. Wait in the central reservation until there is a safe gap in the traffic on the second half of the road.
- If the central reservation is too shallow for the length of your vehicle, wait until you can cross both carriageways in one go.
Rule 173: Assess your vehicle’s length and do not obstruct traffic
Where you have a box junction you must be careful to only go onto the yellow markings if the road you are going into is clear. If there is traffic queueing or some other obstruction then you must wait outside the yellow box.
When turning right on a dual carriageway it is important that you move the whole of your car into the space created for doing so – you do not want the rear of your vehicle in the overtaking (fast) lane of the dual carriageway.
Position and a change of speed often overlap and your change of speed should be progressive and will therefore take some time. The change of gears however should not take too long and will often be done as you near the junction. The choice about what speed to travel at and therefore which gear to use will need to be based on what is happening in that particular situation. As you improve your driving skills I hope this will become more instinctive. At the earlier stages of learning though it often helps to have a more specific plan. On that basis, I recommend that you slow down on approach to emerging right and aim to be at less than 10mph when you are 3-4 car lengths from the give way markings. The change of gear (into 1st) should be done at this point and instead of lifting the clutch all the way up, keep the clutch just below the biting point (and keep your other foot over the brake pedal). The momentum of the car will keep it moving slowly whilst you look and check and when you have found a gap you can continue to bring the clutch up in co-ordination with the accelerator. It is important that you keep your foot near the brake or possibly slightly on the brake so that you can easily slow or stop the car if necessary
In normal circumstances. The safest way to brake is to do so early and lightly. Brake more firmly as you begin to stop. Ease the pressure off just before the vehicle comes to rest to avoid a jerky stop.
In slow-moving traffic. You should
- reduce the distance between you and the vehicle ahead to maintain traffic flow
- never get so close to the vehicle in front that you cannot stop safely
- leave enough space to be able to manoeuvre if the vehicle in front breaks down or an emergency vehicle needs to get past
- not change lanes to the left to overtake
- allow access into and from side roads, as blocking these will add to congestion
- be aware of cyclists and motorcyclists who may be passing on either side.
Rule 151: Do not block access to a side road
You could argue that the look, assess, decide and act part of the routine is the most important (though it is worth remembering that it is very difficult to do these things if you have not slowed down and positioned well). It is certainly important to do these things well. It is very easy to “miss” someone or something when the road is busy and there are lots of things happening; sometimes our eyes see things that our brains do not process so please do not rush yourself as you emerge right. Be very careful as you emerge into a new road to take the time to look for: cyclists, motorcyclists, vehicles moving alongside or from out behind parked vehicles.
When assessing the speed and position of other vehicles, remember:
- you are only crossing the first lane of traffic so you will need less space there than you do in the lane you are joining.
- to factor in the time you need to make the turn and get your speed up to the flow of traffic.
The Highway Code for good reason stresses the importance of taking care and being considerate of other road users in your assessment and decision-making.
Take extra care at junctions. You should
- watch out for cyclists, motorcyclists, powered wheelchairs/mobility scooters and pedestrians as they are not always easy to see. Be aware that they may not have seen or heard you if you are approaching from behind
- watch out for pedestrians crossing a road into which you are turning. If they have started to cross they have priority, so give way
- watch out for long vehicles which may be turning at a junction ahead; they may have to use the whole width of the road to make the turn (see Rule 221)
- watch out for horse riders who may take a different line on the road from that which you would expect
- not assume, when waiting at a junction, that a vehicle coming from the right and signalling left will actually turn. Wait and make sure
- look all around before emerging. Do not cross or join a road until there is a gap large enough for you to do so safely.
Rule 170: Give way to pedestrians who have started to cross