How to Make a Left Turn

Two Methods:Left Turns in a CarLeft Turns on a Bike

Bikers and motorists should learn proper hand and mechanical signals to make a left turn. Left turns require advanced signaling and extra caution. In the US, they require you to be cautious because you are crossing parallel oncoming traffic and perpendicular oncoming traffic. The hand signals for a left turn differ depending upon the side of the road that cars occupy.

Method 1
Left Turns in a Car

  1. Image titled Make a Left Turn Step 1
    1
    Turn on your left turn indicator 100 feet (30m) before the left turn you want to make. If your turn indicator is broken, you will need to signal the left turn with your arm. The following are arm signals for left turns:
    • If you drive on the right side of the road, use your left arm in a straight position to indicate a left turn.
    • If you drive on the left side of the road, extend your right arm out of the window horizontally. Point it down at an angle toward the ground. Your thumb should be pointing toward the ground.[1]
  2. Image titled Make a Left Turn Step 2
    2
    Get into the turning lane in advance. If there are several lanes, remember that most turns require you to be in the closest lane to the side of the turn. For example, if you want to turn left, you should be in the left-most lane.
    • Some roads have multiple turning lanes. Ensure you are in the right lane by reading signs on the road and posted nearby.
  3. Image titled Make a Left Turn Step 3
    3
    Stop completely if your turn is at a T-junction or intersection with a stop sign. Stop just before the white line, with your wheel straight. Then, when the light changes or there is no traffic from either side, begin turning your wheel to the left to execute the turn.
    • If you turn your wheel prematurely and a car hits you from behind, you can be pushed into oncoming traffic.[2]
  4. Image titled Make a Left Turn Step 4
    4
    Yield to oncoming traffic. Traffic going straight almost always has the right of way, even if you aren’t required to stop before turning.
  5. Image titled Make a Left Turn Step 5
    5
    Look to the left and then to the right. If you check your right side first, you may find your wheel turning slightly toward the right. [3]
  6. Image titled Make a Left Turn Step 6
    6
    Slow down as you approach the turn. Then, press on the gas when you are halfway through the turn, to ensure you have control of the speed of the car.
  7. Image titled Make a Left Turn Step 7
    7
    Turn the wheel gently to the left, adjusting as you go. Avoid turning out to the right first, since the angle of your turn may be too wide and place you into oncoming traffic.
  8. Image titled Make a Left Turn Step 8
    8
    Complete the turn while looking toward the left and center. Your turn signal usually turns off automatically. However, for gently left hand turns you may need to click it upward to turn it off.

Method 2
Left Turns on a Bike

  1. Image titled Make a Left Turn Step 9
    1
    Plan to signal 100 feet (30m) before you turn left.
  2. Image titled Make a Left Turn Step 10
    2
    Extend your left arm straight out to the left. It should be parallel with the ground.
  3. Image titled Make a Left Turn Step 11
    3
    Keep your left arm extended until you must replace it on the handlebars to steer and complete the turn.
  4. Image titled Make a Left Turn Step 12
    4
    Look for “bike boxes. These are larger spaces for bikes to sit at a stoplight. The bikes should have the right of way to turn before the cars.[4]

Article Info

Categories: Cars