Eyes Right

There is a special section in the police accident report called "waiting to turn right" which, although it is an everyday manoeuvre, produces more than its fair share of smashes.

By definition, while you are waiting to turn right, your vehicle is preparing to move across oncoming traffic. You have to judge the speed and distance of the vehicles coming across you, bearing in mind fast moving motorbikes, and slower road users such as cyclists. Getting that judgement right is one of the hardest things any driver ever does.

As well as that, while you are waiting there, vehicles may well be moving down your inside - or possibly queuing behind you, also waiting for you to complete the turn.

Either way, it’s a good idea to think about your steering as you sit there waiting for the suitable gap to cross. Keep your front wheels pointing straight ahead until the time comes to actually drive across the road. Resist the temptation to turn the wheels to the right in readiness - or to just hold the car on the foot brake.

That way if you are hit from behind, perhaps by one of those vehicles filtering past, the impact is less likely to send you into the oncoming traffic (which could turn a minor shunt into a major crash).

Not only is it safer to complete the steering manoeuvre in one go, you will also avoid "dry steering" - which is when you twist the tyres round when they are not rolling. That wears tyres and strains the steering.

23 September 2006 Staff

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