Stage 3: Two-point, Three-point, and U-Turns – Part 2


Two-point turns (right side)

We’ve got a short video that shows you how to perform a front-first, right-side two point turn.

  • Front-first: This method requires reversing across a lane of traffic. This is a rather dangerous maneuver and not highly recommended. Here’s how it is done:
  • Signal to the right and drive into a side street or driveway and stop (point #1).
  • Put on your left turn signal (as this is the direction you will be backing).
  • Reverse into the lane of the new direction you’ll be traveling (this requires reversing across a lane of traffic). Parents, be extra-cautious that the road is clear in both directions for at least 15-20 seconds. It’s going to take your teen at least 6-8 seconds to reverse. It will take them another 8-10 to change gears and accelerate to the speed of traffic.

  • Rear-first: We highly recommend using this method as it eliminates the need to reverse across a lane of traffic.

    • Put on your right turn signal and come to a stop before the side street or driveway you wish to turn into. If you stop after the side street, cars behind you may block your entrance to the driveway.
    • Pull ahead of the entrance and stop (point #1).
    • Put the car into reverse and back into the entrance.
    • Activate your left turn signal.
    • Enter traffic when it is safe to do so.
    • Point out to your teen how much easier this method is than the front-first method. Driving forward across a lane of traffic is much easier and requires a smaller gap in traffic.

Two-point turns (left side)*

If we’re going to get technical, then I must put a qualifier to these types of turns. Many driver’s ed professionals call these two-point turns and I have to agree albeit with an asterisk. Most professionals reserve three point turns for those turns which reverse direction on narrow streets without the aid of a side street. Therefore, any turn that reverses direction with the aid of a side street would be a two-point turn.

*Here’s the technical mumbo jumbo

However, if you stop in the left turn lane (point 1), proceed to pull into a driveway and stop (point 2), and then reverse into the road and stop (point 3) and proceed to drive in the new direction, you’ve technically performed a three-point turn. If, on the other hand, you were able to pull directly into that driveway, you would have eliminated that first point of the turn because you never came to a stop. Thus, it would be a two-point turn.

Anyway…here’s how to do it:

Whatever you want to call it, here’s how you change direction by using a side street on the left side of the road:

  • Put on your left turn signal.
  • Pull forward into the entrance of the driveway or side street.
  • Activate your right turn signal (as this is the direction you’ll be backing).
  • Reverse into the lane of the new direction you’ll be traveling. Point out to your teen how much easier it is to reverse into the lane nearest to you rather than across a lane of traffic.
    • Help your teen determine the appropriate time to reverse into the street. Again, new drivers aren’t experts in determining the closure rates of oncoming vehicles. They also tend to underestimate how long it’s going to take them to reverse into the new lane, change from reverse to park, and get up to the speed of traffic in that lane. You should help them find a 10-15 second gap in traffic (depending on the speed of traffic, of course).

Remember: Left side two-point turns are the safest way to change direction.

Three-point Turns

Three-point turns are typically used to reverse direction on narrow, two-lane roads. They are tricky due to the narrowness of the road and the fact that your car completely blocks all traffic flow during part of the procedure.

See the next article on practicing the three-point turn.

All information and advice contained within this website is to be taken at your own risk. Nothing contained within this website should be misconstrued as professional driving instruction.