what should you do when turning left

When it comes to making a left turn while driving, many motorists find themselves unsure about the correct procedure to follow. Understanding and implementing the necessary steps is vital for the safety of both the driver and other road users. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the essential actions you should take when turning left, ensuring a smooth, lawful, and secure maneuver.

Importance of Proper Left Turns

Turning left is a maneuver that requires diligence and awareness of traffic regulations to ensure a safe and efficient flow of traffic. Failure to execute a left turn correctly can jeopardize the safety of drivers, pedestrians, and bicyclists, and may even lead to accidents or traffic violations.

Fundamental Steps for Making a Left Turn

To perform a left turn correctly and safely, the following steps are crucial:

Signal Well in Advance

When preparing to turn left, it is essential to activate your turn signal ahead of time, indicating your intention to other drivers.

Navigate Your Position Correctly

Position your vehicle close to the centerline before turning. This allows sufficient space for other vehicles behind you to pass safely on your right side.

Yield for Oncoming Traffic

Before initiating the left turn, yield the right of way to any oncoming vehicles, ensuring that it is safe to proceed.

Proceed with Caution

Once the roadway is clear, slowly initiate your turn, maintaining a reasonable speed and staying alert for any last-minute obstacles.

Complete the Turn Safely

After completing the turn, position your vehicle in the proper lane for your destination, ensuring that you are not impeding the flow of traffic.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the correct hand signal for a left turn?
Answer: While hand signals are less common today, the correct hand signal for a left turn is extending your left arm horizontally out of the driver-side window.

Can you turn left on a red light?
Answer: No, unless there is a specifically posted sign permitting left turns on a red light, it is illegal to turn left on a red signal.

Are there any restrictions on making a left turn?
Answer: Yes, certain intersections forbid left turns during peak hours or other specified times. Always obey any posted signs or signals.

How do you handle a left turn on a multi-lane road?
Answer: Position your vehicle in the leftmost lane that allows for left turns. Yield to any oncoming vehicles from the opposite direction, ensuring it is safe to proceed.

What should you do when there is a pedestrian crossing on the left turn path?
Answer: Always yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk before turning left. Exercise extra caution and patience to ensure their safety.


Making a left turn may appear straightforward, but it requires careful attention, adherence to traffic rules, and consideration for the safety of all road users. Following the steps outlined in this guide and practicing defensive driving techniques will enhance your ability to make left turns confidently and safely. Remember, responsible driving is key to preventing accidents and ensuring a seamless flow of traffic.

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