Turning right at a junction
Now that you have been introduced to the different elements involved in navigating junctions (Mirrors, Signal, Position, Speed, Gear, Look, Assess, Decide, Act) let’s explore the specifics of turning right. If you are turning right then you will need to cross the path of other vehicles and this means it is much more likely that you will need to slow down or possibly even stop and wait until it is safe to go. It is also likely that you will need to change your position on approach to the junction.
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.
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.
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.
You should also
- watch out for signals given by other road users and proceed only when you are satisfied that it is safe
- be aware that an indicator on another vehicle may not have been cancelled.
It is important that you time your signal to give a clear indication of what you are planning to do and that you give other road users the opportunity to act accordingly. In addition it is important you understand the signals from others (use the speed and position of other vehicles to help you work out what they are intending to do.
A broken white line. This marks the centre of the road. When this line lengthens and the gaps shorten, it means that there is a hazard ahead. Do not cross it unless you can see the road is clear and wish to overtake or turn off.
Lane dividers. These are short, broken white lines which are used on wide carriageways to divide them into lanes. You should keep between them.
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.
You should follow the signs and road markings and get into the lane as directed. In congested road conditions do not change lanes unnecessarily. Merging in turn is recommended but only if safe and appropriate when vehicles are travelling at a very low speed, e.g. when approaching road works or a road traffic incident. It is not recommended at high speed.
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
As you can see, your position will be dependent on the road layout but if you are going right you should be to the right of the road where possible. In some roads this will mean being in the right lane for others it will mean being close to the white line dividing the lanes. If it is a very sharp corner then you may wish to be further away from the line or you will need to consider very carefully what is happening in the new road before you begin to turn (because your back wheels will cut the corner – see steering section) .
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.
It is important then that you notice and respond to road markings and signs as early as possible so that you can safely get into the correct position.
Adapt your driving to the appropriate type and condition of road you are on. In particular
- do not treat speed limits as a target. It is often not appropriate or safe to drive at the maximum speed limit
- take the road and traffic conditions into account. Be prepared for unexpected or difficult situations, for example, the road being blocked beyond a blind bend. Be prepared to adjust your speed as a precaution
- where there are junctions, be prepared for road users emerging
- in side roads and country lanes look out for unmarked junctions where nobody has priority
- be prepared to stop at traffic control systems, road works, pedestrian crossings or traffic lights as necessary
try to anticipate what pedestrians and cyclists might do. If pedestrians, particularly children, are looking the other way, they may step out into the road without seeing you.
Residential streets. You should drive slowly and carefully on streets where there are likely to be pedestrians, cyclists and parked cars. In some areas a 20 mph (32 km/h) maximum speed limit may be in force. Look out for
- vehicles emerging from junctions or driveways
- vehicles moving off
- car doors opening
- children running out from between parked cars
- cyclists and motorcyclists.
Take extra care on country roads and reduce your speed at approaches to bends, which can be sharper than they appear, and at junctions and turnings, which may be partially hidden. Be prepared for pedestrians, horse riders, cyclists, slow-moving farm vehicles or mud on the road surface. Make sure you can stop within the distance you can see to be clear. You should also reduce your speed where country roads enter villages.
There is no specific guidance from the Highway Code about speed on approach to junctions but as a very rough guideline- I often approach right turns at about 15mph in 2nd gear if the road is clear (and keep off the accelerator so that the car continues to slow) but if I can see that there is oncoming traffic that I need to wait for then I will slow down to below 10 mph and change into 1st gear – depending on how things work out I may then continue to brake and come to a stop (followed by finding the biting point) or I would go back on the accelerator to turn the corner and then change gear after I have turned. At the point of turn I am often at about 12mph if the road has been clear. It takes time to steer back to straight so do take right turns at a very slow speed in the early stages of learning.
Wait until there is a safe gap between you and any oncoming vehicle. Watch out for cyclists, motorcyclists, pedestrians and other road users. Check your mirrors and blind spot again to make sure you are not being overtaken, then make the turn. Do not cut the corner. Take great care when turning into a main road; you will need to watch for traffic in both directions and wait for a safe gap.
Remember: Mirrors – Signal – Manoeuvre
Rule 180: Position your vehicle correctly to avoid obstructing traffic
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
These rules highlight that cyclists and pedestrians can be a particular hazard when turning and it is your responsibility as a driver to look and find out if there are cyclists or pedestrians nearby. Ideally you will have noticed any pedestrians or cyclists very early on in this routine.
You need to check for any cycle lanes that cross the road you are turning into and to specifically look for cyclists or pedestrians who are crossing that road.
There is the chance that you will have oncoming vehicles, and pedestrians crossing and cyclists – you must wait for a gap that allows you to turn without causing any of them a problem. Always be prepared to wait!
And if that isn’t enough, you will also want to keep aware of what is happening on your left – it would be good to know if you have cyclists passing or even if there is room, motor vehicles.
Just remember when turning right that you need to look along the road you are driving into so that you are able to get suitable position and speed for the road conditions. You haven’t finished turning the corner until you have straightened the wheels and where appropriate regained your speed. On right turns the steering will need to be done more quickly than when turning left.
Remember: be considerate, be careful and be aware of what is on the road with you.