Mastering U-turns & 3-Point-turns

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A U-turn is a turn made within a road to take you to the other side, facing the opposite direction, in one turn. There are several restrictions on where you can make a U-turn.

South Australia Road Rules

At intersections on any road with a dividing line or median strip, you must start a U-turn from the lane immediately to the left of the middle of the road or dividing strip.

At any other intersection you may start your turn from any position on the road (left of the middle), except from a bike lane or bus lane, providing it is safe to do so.

When making a U-turn you must give way to all other traffic and pedestrians and not unreasonably obstruct traffic approaching from the front or behind.

You must not begin a U-turn unless:

  • you have a clear view for a sufficient distance of any approaching traffic
  • you can safely make the U-turn without unreasonably obstructing the free movement of traffic.

You must not make a U-turn:

  • where there is a No U-turn sign at an intersection or a break in the dividing strip or median strip
  • where there is a No U-turn sign at any other place that applies until the next intersection or the end of the road
  • at an intersection where there are traffic lights
  • across a single continuous dividing line, dividing strip or painted island
  • across a double continuous dividing line or dividing strip
  • on a one-way road
  • unless U-turn permitted sign is displayed on traffic lights.


3-point turns

How to Perform a 3-point turn safely

3-point turns are performed in locations where space restrictions make it unsafe or impractical to perform a U-turn.

  1. First you will need to find a place to make your turn where there are no obstructions such as parked cars or lamp posts.  You need to be able to see at least 50 metres up and down the street.  Turn on your left indicator then pull over to the kerb.
  2. First Point: When ready to make the turn, check your mirrors and ensure there is no oncoming traffic from either direction.  Signal right for at least 5 seconds and check to ensure no one is coming out of a driveway or along the street. When all is clear, turn your steering wheel all the way to the right as you move forward.  About one metre from the opposite kerb, turn your wheel quickly to the left to get ready for the next phase of the turn.  Break gently to stop.  Get as close to the kerb as possible without touching it.
  3. Second Point: Check your mirrors and blind spots again to ensure no oncoming traffic.  Put the car into reverse and while looking over your left shoulder, begin reversing slowly while turning the steering wheel all the way to the left.  Once you've gone back far enough to complete your turn start turning the steering wheel back to the right and bring the car to a stop.  Check over your right shoulder as you turn the steering wheel to the right.  The right hand rear corner of the car will be the nearest to any obstruction.
  4. Third Point: Now select drive or first gear and scan for oncoming vehicles or pedestrians.  Move ahead when it is safe to do so.

South Australia Road Rules

The rules for U-turns also apply to 3-point turns.

  • You may do a 3-point turn by using the forward and reverse gears when the road is not wide enough to complete a U-turn.
  • You may only do a 3-point turn if it is safe to do so and allowed by the road rules, and you must always take care not to obstruct other road users.
  • Check the road carefully before starting a 3-point turn and, if the traffic is heavy, it is better to avoid a 3-point turn by driving around the block.


  1. SA Government - My Licence Drivers Handbook

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