Turning right at a junction
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Learning to drive

Turning right at a junction (minor road to major)

Turning right at a junction can feel a bit like being the hero in an action movie. Everyone is coming straight at you, and you have to decide what to do to survive.

And what does the hero always do first? That super rapid left-right-left commando look.

That’s what you need to do too. When you’re turning right, proper observation is what’s going to get you across the road safely. So just like when you’re walking across the road, look both ways. A lot.

Move over!

When you’re turning right at junctions, you need to make sure people know about it. Think of yourself as a Kardashian: you want everyone to know what you’re doing at all times.

Obviously the best way to communicate with other road users is to indicate, so check your mirrors (main and right) then slap your right indicator on. Do it with style.

At a junction you should also use the position of your car to show what you’re intending to do. So, when you’re turning right you should position your car on the right-hand side of your lane, just left of the centre line (if there is one). Make sure you’ve checked your mirrors first though, in case a cheeky cyclist has snuck up on you.

Letting other road users know what you’re doing means:

  • People behind you know where you’re going
  • Pedestrians can be wary of crossing
  • Cars on the main road are aware you may pull out
  • Cyclists know where the danger is
  • Smeone might let you out!

Approaching the junction

Indicating and correct positioning of your car are part of the procedure you should do every time you’re coming up to a junction.

Similar to the Mirror - Signal - Manoeuvre that you’re used to, we just add 3 extra steps to explain the manoeuvre (turning right).

I’ve talked about it in detail in the approaching a junction advice, but here’s a reminder:

  1. Mirrors: check your mirrors
  2. Signal: use your indicators
  3. Manoeuvre:
    • Position: position your car
    • Speed: slow down, select the appropriate gear
    • Look: check the road you’re turning into

Look both ways

The most important part of turning right at a junction is waiting your turn. When there’s traffic approaching you from both sides, waiting for the right gap can seem like it takes forever. But safety is ALWAYS the most important thing.

You need to continuously be checking each side of the road when you’re trying to emerge right, to find the perfect gap in traffic for you to make your move.

As a new driver trying to judge the time to go can be a nightmare as well, my instructor always says if you think you could walk across to the other side then you have a safe gap to move off and make progress. But remember if you don’t know or are not sure DON’T GO!

It's also a good idea to make sure that your car is in first gear and you’ve already found your biting point. There’s nothing more annoying than finally finding your perfect gap and then not being ready to pull out.

Open and closed junctions

When emerging out of a junction, you need to decide whether it’s an open or closed junction. An open junction means that the road you’re turning into is very visible. That means you can start your observation early.

Your driving instructor will call this ‘early observation’ and it’s very handy. Start looking as soon as you can!

If you’re emerging out of a closed junction, that means the road you’re turning into isn’t very visible. You may need to do the ‘peep and creep’. Don’t panic when your driving instructor introduces this. It means: if your vision of the road at the junction is poor, you creep your car forward to peek at the road.

Remember to check:

  • Your left mirror and blind spot for cyclists also trying to emerge
  • For motorbikes zooming towards you
  • That your car is in first gear and ready to move
  • That pulling out won’t affect cars coming from either direction

So that’s it! Drive away smoothly, like an action hero walking away from an explosion. Job done.


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Honor joined ingenie in 2014 and is in charge of words on the Young Driver's Guide and blog. Her first car is a Peugeot 206 cabriolet, which is a very sensible choice for the British climate. Follow her on .