A safe gap is a space in the traffic that you can move into without causing other drivers to react to you.

Drive07 Choosing a gap in traffic and turning left at an intersection v1

Where should you practise this? 

Practise out of the car first. Try picking gaps from the footpath with your coach. Think about if you would have time to cross the road on foot or by bike - you’ll need a similar-sized gap in a car.

Once you’re ready to have a go in the car, do a circuit of left turns around a block to help you get used to this skills combo.

How should you practise turning left at an intersection?

Start on simpler intersections with less going on. To make it easier stop completely the first few times, even if it's a Give Way. When you feel ready try a mix of T-intersections and crossroads with:

  • traffic lights
  • Give Way signs
  • Stop signs
  • or uncontrolled intersections.

When you're doing left turns in the car

  • Plan where you’re going to go so that your car is in the right place on the road.
  • Follow the intersection approach routine:

Mirror Signal Course v6

  • Before starting to turn, check your left side mirror and blind spot. There could be cyclists coming up on your inside.
  • Check right for approaching traffic.
  • Look left around the corner before you turn to make sure the road is clear.
  • Check right again as you pull out into the gap in case there’s something you missed – be ready to stop if you need to.
  • Turn smoothly into and out of the turn - don't jerk the steering wheel.
  • Once you’ve turned, speed up smoothly so that you’re travelling at a similar speed to the cars around you.

Tips for left hand turns at intersections

  • Watch out for turning lanes marked on the road, and choose the correct lane for where you want to go.
  • If there’s a Stop sign, you must come to a complete stop. If you don't it could be a critical or immediate failure error in the test.
  • When you're turning left, you usually won’t have to give way to turning traffic. But, if the car opposite you is at a Give Way sign and you’re at a Stop sign, you will have to give way to them (even if they’re turning right).
  • Be ready to give way, even if you’re not meant to. Other drivers might make mistakes picking a gap.
  • If you decide it’s not safe to go, stop. You can change your mind if you need to.

Next skill

Next lesson

Turning right and going straight ahead at an intersection

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