nz road code test logo
New Zealand Road Code Test

Key driving skills - Turning

Turning

Turning can be dangerous, because it usually means you have to cross the path of other vehicles. Remember turning traffic gives way to traffic that is not turning.

How to turn

To legally and safely make a left or right turn:

  • do a thorough check for other vehicles – in front, behind and to the sides
  • remember to check over your shoulder for your blind spots (the areas of road to the sides of your car that you can't see in your mirrors)
  • watch for pedestrians
  • signal for at least three seconds
  • turn when safe.

If you are turning left, use your left indicator. If you are turning right, use your right indicator.

Be prepared to stop, even if the other driver should give way to you.

Important

When turning or changing lanes remember to always check your blind spots.

Turning from a driveway

If you are driving out of a driveway:

  • slow down to a complete stop at the end of the driveway
  • check the road and footpath for hazards, pedestrians and other vehicles
  • give way to:
    • pedestrians on the footpath
    • vehicles along the road.

Making a left turn

If you are turning left into another street or driveway:

  • stay in the left lane or keep to the left side of the road
  • slow down before you turn
  • check your mirrors and your blind spot
  • signal for at least three seconds
  • turn when safe.
Picture of car turning left

Left turn

Making a right turn on a road with no marked lanes

In this situation:

  • slow down before you turn
  • check your mirrors and look over your right shoulder to check your blind spot
  • signal for at least three seconds
  • move close to the centre of the road
  • turn when safe.
Picture of a car turning right on an unlaned road

Right turn on an unlaned road


Important

You should move into a similar position on the road you're turning into as your position on the road you've just left.

For example, if you are on the left-hand side of the road, you should stay on the left-hand side of the road after you've turned; or if you are in a lane next to the centre line, you should turn into the lane next to the centre line.

Making a right turn on a road with a centre line

In this situation:

  • slow down before you turn
  • check your mirrors and look over your right shoulder to check your blind spot
  • signal for at least three seconds
  • move towards to the centre line
  • turn when safe.
Picture of a car turning right on a road with a centre line

Right turn on a road with a centre line

Making a right turn from the left-hand side of the road

If there are other vehicles moving fast or following too closely, or if the road is narrow, it may be best to wait on the left-hand side of the road to make the turn, rather than stopping in the middle of the road and holding up traffic.

In this situation:

  • signal left for at least three seconds
  • move across to the left-hand side of the road
  • wait there until it is safe to turn
  • signal right for at least three seconds before you turn
  • move when it is safe.

If a vehicle in front of you has also stopped to turn right, it's best to wait behind them and then use the same position to turn from.

Take extra care on roads where traffic is moving quickly.

Picture of a car turning right from the left-hand side of a laned road Picture of a car turning right from the left-hand side of an unlaned road

Turning right from the left side of the road


Safe turning tip

If you have stopped to turn right, keep your wheels pointed straight ahead until you start to turn. That way, if you are hit from behind you are less likely to be pushed into the path of oncoming traffic.

Making a right turn from a right-turn bay

A right-turn bay is an area where vehicles that are turning right can wait until it is safe to turn, without holding up vehicles going straight through.

You can't use the right-turn bay to overtake a vehicle travelling straight ahead.

As you approach the right-turn bay, the road will be painted with a white triangle with diagonal lines inside it, followed by one or more right-turn arrows.

You can only drive over the white diagonal lines if you are turning right.

Picture of a car in a right-turn bay, indicating to turn right

Right-turn bay

Turning on or off a road with a flush median

A flush median is a strip in the centre of the road that is marked with white diagonal lines within parallel lines. It provides a place for vehicles that are turning right, or vehicles that have turned right onto the road from a side road or driveway.

You can only drive onto the flush median to:

  • wait to move into a gap in the traffic flow after you have turned right (car A in the diagram below)
  • slow down and wait before turning right (car B in the diagram below).
Picture of a flush median

Using a flush median


Important

When using a flush median, watch out for pedestrians who might be waiting on the flush median to cross the road.

Making a U-turn

You are normally allowed to make U-turns, as long as the road is clear in both directions and it is safe to do so. Make sure you have enough room to complete the turn and don't create a hazard for oncoming vehicles.

You aren't allowed to make U-turns if a 'No U-turn' sign is displayed.

Making a turn over a no-passing line

You can cross over the solid yellow no-passing line (if it is safe to do so) when making a turn to enter a driveway or side road.

However, bear in mind that no-passing lines are often marked where visibility is limited, so special care is required. It may be safer to turn further along the road, where visibility is better. See Passing for more information about no-passing lines.

⇪ return < previous next >