How to Turn Left At An Intersection (Theory) to Pass Your Road Test | Pass a Road Test Smart

Hi there smart drivers, Rick with Smart Drive Test talking to you today about left-hand turns. We’re going to give you the theory behind left-hand turns; in other words, we’re going to give you step-by-step instructions of how to do left-hand turns. The steps for doing left-hand turns can be somewhat complicated and overwhelming, especially for new drivers who find it a bit intimidating because you’re out there in the intersection and there’s lots of traffic applying pressure for you to clear that intersection and not hold up other vehicles and road users. So when you come up to the intersection, it is imperative that you scan well, and scan properly. And not only do you have to scan forward through the intersection, but you also have to scan the cross- traffic, and look for pedestrians at the cross traffic because if you misjudge the pedestrians they could hold you up in the intersection. You could find yourself sitting in the middle of the intersection. And for new drivers they find that incredibly embarrassing. So today we’re going to give you some information about how to do a left-hand turn well, so that you don’t end up in that all too embarrassing situation or worse yet, risk a crash. We’ll be right back with that information – stick around. [OPENING CREDITS & MUSIC] Hi there smart drivers – welcome back. Rick with Smart Drive Test talking to you today about left-hand turns, giving you step-by-step instructions of how to execute a left-hand turn. First you need to locate the turn–where you’re going to turn–at the intersection and determine if it is legal. Are there any signs that prohibit you from turning left at that intersection? Oftentimes the signs prohibiting left-hand turns will be over top of the intersection on an overhead sign, and so locate those and determine if you can turn left at that intersection. Next thing you want to do, approximately half a block from where you’re going to turn, you mirror, signal, shoulder check, and as you’re mirror, signal shoulder checking, also check behind you to make sure that there’s nobody running up the backend of you. And that you can slow down without being rear-ended. The next thing you need to do, is you need to position the vehicle. And you want to position the vehicle as far left in your lane, but still stay right of the center line. So you don’t want to deviate out of your lane, you just want to move the vehicle over to the left. So that’s my left…that would be your left over there. So left of your lane – move your vehicle over, position your vehicle. If it is a controlled intersection, you need to stop at the correct place. Determine whether it’s a yield or whether it’s a stop and if it’s a stop, you need to stop at the correct position for a STOP signed intersection and I’ll put a card up here for you for the video on STOP signs and stopping positions at STOP signed intersections. If it’s a yield, I’ll put a card up here for you as well for the yield sign. And you can find those in the cards in the upper right-hand corner. Next thing you need to do if you’re coming up here and it is an uncontrolled intersection–there isn’t a traffic light, there isn’t a stop sign, or a yield sign– and you’re going to proceed left and the way is clear, you need to slow down to 20 to 30 kilometers an hour. In the United States that would be 12 to 18 miles per hour. And depending on how big the intersection is, this will determine how fast you can proceed through the intersection. If it’s a busy place or complicated or you have fixed obstacles or other vehicles that are blocking your view of the intersection and the cross street you want to slow down even more – sometimes you might even want to slow down to eight to ten kilometers an hour. In the United States 5 to 10 miles per hour. So before you proceed into the intersection, recheck the intersection, recheck the cross traffic, especially over on this side of the intersection. [POINTING TO THE LEFT SIDE OF THE INTERSECTION ON WHITE BOARD] You want to make sure there aren’t any pedestrians who are going to step out into the roadway or other road users– people on scooters, and cyclist, and those types of people because if you get into the intersection and they step out there they have the right-of-way and you’re going to be stuck in the intersection. So before you proceed out into the intersection, recheck the intersection – looking for other road users. As well, any traffic in the intersection–trucks, buses, cars, cyclists, motorcycles–those types of things. So thoroughly scan the intersection before you commit to the turn. Next step is to start turning the vehicle. On a two-lane road–two lanes that intersect with one another–when the vehicle is at this juncture, [REFERING TO DRAWING ON WHITEBOARD] and you are in line with the edge of the road here, that’s when you want to start turning your vehicle, and on subsequent roads– multi-lane roads that you’re turning onto–if there was another lane here–then you would use this center line as you’re turning point or just before that centre point. So if you have a multi-lane, you would bring the vehicle out to here, until you’re just before this centre line here – so just here, and then you would start turning. And you need to turn into this inside lane. Now when you start turning and you commit to the turn and are moving through the intersection–you’ve judged your gap, you make sure that there’s no pedestrians on the cross street, you look through the intersection and look in the direction that you want the vehicle to go. The vehicle will go in the direction that you are looking, so therefore if you’re on a multi-lane or your’re on two lane, look in the direction you want to go and steer into that lane. So when you commit to the turn and you’ve got the position where you’re through the intersection on a straight line. You start to steer the vehicle into the direction you want to go, look in the direction you want to go, come through here, recover the steering wheel. So bring the steering wheel back– simply open your fingers, and allow the steering wheel to move you through your hands. When it comes back to stop, close your fingers. You may need to recover a little bit to get the vehicle going in the direction that you want to go. Look up in the direction you want to go and steer the vehicle in the path of travel, and accelerate back to road speed as quickly as possible. Always get the vehicle back up to speed as quickly as possible and I’ll put a card up here for you on roads speeds. And you accelerate with your left foot in the path of travel. Now if you’re on a multi-lane, like this [POINTING TO WHITEBOARD DRAWING] and you pull into the left lane ,if you’re NOT going to turn left again for some time, make sure you signal right and merge back over to the right-hand lane. Because for the purposes of a road test, you need to be driving in the right-hand lane. So those are the steps for making a left-hand turn and the theory behind it and the step-by-step instructions. So quick review: when you come up to the intersection, locate the intersection, make sure it’s legal. Mirror, signal, shoulder check. Check the traffic behind you to make sure you can stop without being rear ended. Scan the intersection thoroughly for other road users. Approach the intersection – if it’s an uncontrolled intersection slow to 20 to 30 kilometers an hour. In the Unted States that would be 10 to 15 miles per hour. Scan the intersection again before you commit – as you move up to the intersection scan again – especially here on the cross streets [REFERING TO THE WHITEBOARD DRAWING] Make sure there’s no pedestrians on the cross street. When you get in line with here, if it’s a two-lane road–two two-lane roads that are intersecting–if it’s multi-lane, you want to move up to the next one. When you’re in line with the edge of the road, then you start turning. Look in the path of travel – look where you want the vehicle to go. Steer through the intersection. When you get into this lane here, open your fingers, let the steering wheel come back. When the steering wheel stops, close your fingers. You may need to correct a little bit. Look up into the path of travel that you want the vehicle to go and accelerate with your left foot back to road speed as quickly as possible. If you’re on a multi-lane highway, here for example, [REFERING TO WHITEBOARD DRAWING] and you’re in the left lane and you’re not going to turn left again for some time, make sure that you move back over to the right as quickly as possible. Question for my smart drivers: what techniques and tips do you have for new drivers learning to turn left? Leave a comment down in the comment section there. All of that helps us out. I’m Rick with Smart Drive Test. Thanks very much for watching. If you like what you see here share, subscribe ,leave a comment down in the comment section. As well, hit that thumbs up button. Check out the videos below, check out the cards in the upper right-hand corner – lots of great information for those endeavoring to get their license and pass a road test. Thanks again for watching. Good luck on your road test. And remember, pick the best answer, not necessarily the right answer. Have a great day. Bye now! [CLOSING CREDITS & MUSIC]


  1. What's the point of shoulder checking on left turns? The traffic is in the opposite side anyways?

  2. my problem is i dont know how much to turn, in other word when to stop turning and steering back… Rich, all your videos are so helpful! Thank you!

  3. Hi,thanks for all these videos. Helped a lot. Can you post a video about “ yields" when driving. Like who has the right way when I'm in yield lane. Ty

  4. Almost got hit in the back end yesterday. I was making a left turn and came to a stop and the car coming down the road very fast nearly clipped me

  5. Thanks for the video. I always have trouble finding the right spot to turn, i mean like I know where my car should stand before steering the wheels (theoretically) but don't know how to locate that in the driver's point of view. And I also have trouble with my speed when turning, i turn too slow… hopefully you'll have turning instruction video in the driver's point of view. Thanks!!
    My road test is coming and I'm so screw…

  6. If you live in Connecticut, do NOT slide the steering wheel back. You have to put it back by doing hand-over-hand to the right.

  7. Hello, on a two lane road can two cars that are on opposite sides of the light turn left at the same time? I often run into this and a lot of times the other car will stop and not move at all and I'm not sure what to do. If I see a steady stream of cars behind them should I let them turn first in case the cars are going straight or turning right? Thanks!

  8. I've been researching about left hand turns because in Indiana people tend to turn to the far right lane of the street they intend to turn into, instead of turning to the left lane. Apparently it's not an illegal thing to do because of a judge's interpretation of the law. Thoughts?

  9. Hi Rick . Failed my driving test today in Connecticut . Had a Controlled intersection with a stop sign( no signal ) , i had to turn left using the left lane only. I stopped at the stop sign then slightly went ahead . Was failed right away . Instructer said , I should not move ahead at all and simply waited .

  10. the green arrow is the protected turn. Where oncoming traffic stops for you. You can turn on green light, but you have to yield for on coming traffic right?

  11. i love ur videos v informative i took a road test yesterday and she failed me as i started not sure wat i did wrong so i pull out go to stop sign. its an intersection there is stop sign on opposite side but traffic coming from left and right have no stop signs. so i stop at white line for stop sign . since i could not see traffic well i creep up a bit to see to make left turn. she said i failed as i was obstructing traffic. i dont understand how should i have done this correctly without creeping up?? its a bling spot. i am in long island NY plz help im not having much luck w road tests

  12. Hi rick I went to the patchogue site of DMV u can find it by zip 11784 or go on dmv patchogue site I started test on Amity st making left on Division st I was at stop sign street across had it but division didn’t traffic moving both ways town of patchogue in Suffolk county ny thanks so much I really appreciate the help

  13. When you are in the left lane and your instructor tells you to turn left at an intersection, do you have to stay in the left lane when you make the turn and wait for them tell you to change to the right lane or do you do it without them telling you?

  14. Should you move your car past the white line in a big interaction? Some interactions are very wide and it'd be difficult to find a gap if you don't move forward. In that case, how much should you move forward? Thanks!

  15. For new drivers.
    When turning left make sure good observation and always look into the road your going into
    The entrance might have some debris on the road or someone might b at their vehicle so you might have to adjust your turn to take this into account.
    Take your time nice slow speed and relax. when you have completed the turn then build up speed gradually to match the road speed limit and of course weather conditions.
    Be safe and have fun.

  16. Your videos are extremely helpful. I have a question about this one though. At the 7:26 minute mark you say, "Accelerate with your left foot." Did you mean to say left, or right? Thank you.

  17. Great video. But let's say you are at an intersection about turning left with your front wheels outside the crosswalk waiting for a safe gap to make your turn while the light is green. Just when you have enough gap to make your turn you noticed a pedestrian crossing on the road you are about turning to, you waited for the pedestrian to finish crossing but light has now turned red. So what do you do in this situation, remember your front wheels are already outside the crosswalk?

  18. Could you be so kind to provide some theory and video for turning left at the intersection with median, basis green light or flashing green light? I just got failed in my road test in BC due to my bad left turns at median, but it seems there are different argument on google where exactly you should wait and check traffic at median…

  19. I had a road test yesterday and I"m failed. He said I am late to put my signal on before I turn letf and I am also to fast to drive to turn left.It was my first time to drive.

  20. Hello, I'll be doing a G road test in Ontario soon. You said for the purpose of a road test that after making a left turn you should go into the right lane. Is this correct? Even if the instructor doesn't tell you to go into the right lane?

  21. I am learning so much and you explain things in so much detail. I failed my first road test bc I got super nervous but I am determined to get my license this time. 🤩 thank you for all the videos you make. It helps a lot.

  22. This helped a lot. My instructor told me to go straight and then turn when in line with the lane I’m turning into. I ended up failing for wide right and left turns.

  23. I make sure to check twice before I make a left turn, or any other turns I do when I am driving. I also stay alert with everything that is going on around me. I limit all of my distractions as well.

  24. I think I understand everything better now than I learned in my behind the wheel and driver's education classes. They did teach me stuff, but your videos really sum it all up! It all makes sense! Thanks!

  25. Hi how about you are about to turn left and its green light and the incoming traffic is turning right which one of us have a roght of way?

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