back to article mulls three-point turn on three-point turn thanks to satnav. Weeeeeeee. THUD

Britain's wannabe motorists could soon face a new driving test after the UK government confirmed plans to scrap the "turn in the road" manoeuvre and bring in satnav directions for candidates to follow instead. The irritating "reverse around the corner" manoeuvre could also become a thing of the past, with the practical exam …

  1. StephenTompsett

    The 'Three point turn' demonstrates use of gears, clutch, accelerator, together with observation and judgment. Successful completion demonstrates a reasonable level of competence by the driver.

    I suspect the reason for the proposal to remove it from the test is the problem of finding a safe stretch of road to perform the maneuver on due to the increasing number of on-road parked cars.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I stopped driving several year ago because it is stupid expensive for short distances and cycling keeps me fitter, but I renew driving license for those times when I do need to drive, so would object to a retest every 10 years. Satnavs should not be relied upon, because either they can fail or cause problems e.g. cars in rivers, one way streets or dead ends, or large vehicles on too narrow roads, too tight turns, or roads with too low bridges etc.!

      I cycle along some residential roads with cars parked on the side of the road on hills, typically on random alternate sides with low winter sun, and pity large vehicle drivers and opposing drivers for those stretches; I regularly see poor driving manners, so divert to tarmac 'foot' path when I see a possible dicey situation ahead with an oncoming vehicle; cars don't have that option!... Maybe drivers should be trained/tested on special courses like this with junk dummy cars along them (to avoid some steep compensation claims) with low winter sun or a powerful spotlight in front. Ironically dicey routes like this can be where a Three point turn and reverse turning can be quite useful to know how to do, without damaging stuff or getting confused, and help with more awkward parking.

      1. Omgwtfbbqtime

        "Satnavs should not be relied upon,..."

        And that is precisely why the use of them should be part of the test. If you end up blindly following the satnav without any thought to where "Turn Left!" is going to send you, then you should fail.

        Disclaimer: I do use a Satnav on some journeys, though it is a family game to yell "No!" at the Satnav when we decide that isn't the way we are going - which is more often than not.

        1. Yes Me Silver badge

          Re: "Satnavs should not be relied upon,..."

          And texting while walking on a crowded footpath should be part of the walking test, I suppose. Of all the cretinous ideas civil servants have come up with recently, this must be in the top ten.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Graham Dawson Silver badge

      What gets me - having just had a quick drive into town - is this idea that the reversing-around-a-corner manoeuvre is somehow useless as well. have any of these people ever tried pulling a car out of a parking spot? Or reversing into one for that matter. Reversing out of a driveway?

      I get the feeling whatever committee thought up this pile of rubbish consists of lazy sods who get driven everywhere and probably haven't been behind the wheel for years.

      1. Annihilator

        "have any of these people ever tried pulling a car out of a parking spot? Or reversing into one for that matter. Reversing out of a driveway?"

        Absolutely - one of the entire points of reversing around a corner is to test your manoeuvring skills in tight spaces.

        Get rid of 3-point turns and reversing round corners, and you've lost the ability to turn your car around when necessary. Such as dead ends. Or car parks as mentioned.

        1. John Tserkezis

          "Get rid of 3-point turns and reversing round corners, and you've lost the ability to turn your car around when necessary. Such as dead ends. Or car parks as mentioned."

          Too late, they've already lost that ability.

          To compensate, they make the idiots follow blind directions from their satnavs and follow the long way around. Until, as you say, you get to a dead end or car park.

          At least the drivers who a are least able to drive will congregate at predictable known locations, like dead ends and car parks.

          1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

            And then you can just fence them in and dig out the shears.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Stop testing 3 point turns ....

          That'll kill of the mini cab drivers in Essex Road instantly, they were taught to U-turn on the main road, park in the bus lane and stop double parked outside their office to chat with their mates on their driving lessons

      2. PNGuinn

        Revrsing out of a driveway should be punishable by DEATH. Or worse.

        Reverse INTO the b***d* thing!

        1. JBowler

          It is

          Reversing out of a driveway is punished by death.

        2. cbars

          Reversing out of a driveway punishable by death

          I'm confused and think I missed the joke. If both reversing out of, and into a driveway, is punishable by death... Does that mean the only legal use a driveway is a vertical lift by a flock of drones or a crane?

        3. F0rdPrefect

          Reverse INTO the b***d* thing

          I used to live on a relatively main road.

          At time of getting home from work, finding a large enough gap in the traffic to perform a reverse onto the driveway exercise was impossible, whereas reversing out in the mornings was relatively simple.

          Driving on also made accessing the car boot a possibility. Useful when taking stuff out, or putting it in.

    3. getHandle

      That and the other muppets

      Who seem to think it acceptable to push past while you're halfway through a 3 point turn. Selfish bastards.

      1. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

        Re: That and the other muppets

        I would draw the line at calling them Muppets. It would be insulting Kermit & co to be compared to these drivers.

  2. xyz Silver badge

    Ooh a new spectator sport.

    Watching learners following satnav instructions has got to be award winning TV. The amount of times my satnav has told me to do a three point turn because it's driven me up a dead end/into a canal/ up a railway track is beyond measure. Not training learners how to turn around after their satnav has driven them into pedestrian precinct or whatever has got to be pure TV gold.

    1. F0rdPrefect

      Re: Ooh a new spectator sport.

      And which satnav should they be able to use?

      The instructions from my old TomTom are phrased differently and delivered at a different distance from a junction than the ones from the satnav built into my car.

      And programming them is wildly different.

  3. Graham Dawson Silver badge

    How long before they do a u-turn on this?

    1. Emo

      They probably will, in a round-about way.


    Blinking **ll!

    Will this new test involve enhanced use of that new optional extra not found yet on most cars -especially 'expensive ones'?

    I'm thinking of those amber coloured bits on the corners which can light up to tell us others what you going to do as opposed to what you have done?

    1. PNGuinn

      Re: Blinking **ll!

      Yeah - most folks round here seem to have 'em. Its qiute clever really - all 4 flash at once. The meaning seems to be "I'm about to do something utterly daft and highly dangerous - and I'm determined to give you no useful clue as to what it is - JUST GET OUT OF MY **£**)(*$**!! WAY"

      Bit like systemd really.

      1. batfink

        Re: Blinking **ll!

        They're called "Hazard Lights", because they are useful in indicating that the driver is, in fact, a Hazard...

  5. Pen-y-gors


    Presumably it will be perfectly acceptable to totally ignore the satnav, so long as you reach the destination? Satnavs are there to provide guidance, not orders.

  6. frank ly

    Old Style?

    The navigation system in my car is a large spiral bound GB road atlas. They are very cheap (about £2) and available at many shops and petrol stations. The disadvantages of my system are that it requires me to be able to think and remember stuff but I don't seem to have a problem with that.

    1. Mark Allen

      Re: Old Style?

      Paper map books never run out of battery, instant boot-up, larger screen, can survive being thrown from car window at speed, no screen glare, easy to update (biro\pencil), don't get nicked.

      The best part of map books is you get to see the whole route from A to B before you set out. Letting you then pick the nicer back roads option. Or use your own brain to avoid the traffic past the football stadium.

      So if the new driving test includes a SatNav section, does this mean every new learner driver will have to buy a sat nav? Do I assume this idea was brought in by TomTom to help their flagging sales?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Old Style?

      Have to agree here, I have a sat-nav for use with the bike but use it mainly as a map. You try reading a map in the pouring rain with bike gloves on!

      Long gone now are the days where I'd write out a route, stick it in a plastic bag and tape it to the tank. But follow the sat-nav's instructions? All very well, but not much fun when it sends you up a track in the Italian Dolomites that it thinks is an auto-strada but hasn't yet been built!

    3. Emo

      Re: Old Style?

      Maybe instead they'll teach how to do a Scandinavian flick before applying the handbrake to turn the car around?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Old Style?

        No need - they seem to know how to do that BEFORE learning to drive...

    4. Number6

      Re: Old Style?

      I learned to distrust computer navigation a long time ago. I was playing with a copy of Autoroute, asking it for routes to places I'd been, so I could see how it compared with my choices. One of those was Southend, which apparently is in Scotland. Southend-on-Sea is the one in Essex. Ever since then, whenever I've needed to follow directions from Satnav, I've always checked them in advance on a map to make sure I agree with them. Mostly I print out an overview map and a local street map courtesy of Google and do the rest from memory. That works unless there's an unexpected event such as a traffic accident that forces me to divert from my memorised route.

      1. John Tserkezis

        Re: Old Style?

        "I learned to distrust computer navigation a long time ago."

        What you've learned to hate, is auto routing, not computer navigation.

        I've been using "satnav" from before the term was even coined. I've never had auto routing, and don't miss it. That alone is an infinite improvement over paper maps held by one hand, while blindly driving though give way (yield) and stop signs because I was too busy focusing on a tiny spot on a map to see them.

        Ye' olde' argument that paper maps are more reliable than electonics doesn't hold any more. If I'm driving anywhere, I have two, one dedicated unit, another via software on my phone. With backups that you can store in your pockets or belts (can't do that with books), any reliability concerns are easily dismissed.

        Fast forward when the rest of the world has caught up, I'm near mortified that people are blindly following auto routing directions, and go so far as saying "their" version of maps is fully up-to-date and never ever wrong. Ever.

        This is partially the fault of the data, but mostly the fault of the idiots who turn off their brains.

    5. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

      Re: Old Style?

      I would generally agree though I recently ran into a situation where the map did not reflect the actual layout and road signs did not help. It took everyone in the car a good number of aborted retries to figure out which route we should be taking . Luckily I knew how to do turning manoeuvres so it wasn't really a problem but a SatNav would have been helpful as a 'here's where you are' and a 'that way' aid. Though pedestrians are often equally good for that there were none around.

    6. F0rdPrefect

      Re: Old Style?

      "The navigation system in my car is a large spiral bound GB road atlas. They are very cheap (about £2) and available at many shops and petrol stations. The disadvantages of my system are that it requires me to be able to think and remember stuff but I don't seem to have a problem with that."

      And do you read it while driving, to find a new route when the road in front of you is closed?

  7. Rabbit80

    3 point turn..

    I do 3 point turns several times a day!

    Personally, I think the government would improve road safety if they introduced mandatory retesting every 10 years for every driver. Wouldn't necessarily need to be as comprehensive (or as expensive) as the regular new driver test, but could highlight drivers with bad habits that could do with extra lessons. The quality of driving on the roads at the moment is terrible - last week I drove past 3 separate crashes in one 20 mile journey!

    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: 3 point turn..

      I do several 3 point turns a day too - generally in turning in our yard. Got some of them sensors that tells me when I'm going to hit something reversing which seems really cool until you get into the service replacement car from the garage which hasnt got them and reverse over the cat.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What are they going to do? Have the drivers make 10 random turns and the navigate home via a specific intersection? While tuning to Radio Luxembourg? And eating a sandwich while lighting a cigarette?

  9. Richard Jones 1
    Thumb Down

    How About Three Point Turn in a narrow lane/muddy field, etc.?

    Given the way that Satnav sends you the wrong way I feel a three point turn is ever more important. I admit to not having a Satnav. The last time I travelled with three other Satnav equipped cars they all went the wrong way until we were further away from where we were going than we had been at the start! It sent them East when the destination was to the West so something quite trivial.

    1. BongoJoe

      Re: How About Three Point Turn in a narrow lane/muddy field, etc.?

      I have lost count of the number of cars which come to my cottage courtesy of a sat nav. The best recently being a massive truck towing an electricity company's 'comfort station' which had a kitchen, a rest area and a toilet.

      The driver was less than pleased with me that the real life topography of me, my cottage at the end of a long steep and narrow lane didn't match his satnav's false sense of reality.

      Mind you, not as much fun as my mate in the petrol station had recently. He watched the vice police commissioner being driven up a footpath up the local hill because the pratnav gave the wrong directions to the Mountain Rescue depot. Apparantly cue much crashing about in the woods on the hillside in the mud with a large drop on one side for ages until the car emerged looking somewhat worse for wear before then going up the correct track.

      I hope we don't need to rely on Plod to arrive in an emergency.

  10. Da Weezil

    I think before the Test is altered the standard of instruction needs a serious looking at. I have seen instructors stop their pupils in the most ridiculous places to "chat". No wonder they behave like muppets when they actually pass the test - they have been given bad habits by their tutors!

    I note that now it seems reversing around a corner is allowed downhill (coasting), whereas I had to perform that maneuver on level ground/uphill to demonstrate appropriate throttle and clutch use.

    Who are the idiots who think that Slavishly following a Sat Nav is more important than being able to make basic maneuvers safely and competently. I am reminded of a woman who turned into a side street on her right - across the path of a friend who was proceeding along a road from the opposite direction. Despite hard braking and a swerve they collided, when he got out of the car she asked him "didn't you see me indicating?". There are far too many on the road like her already, without this "improvement" lowering the standard still further. The fact that it is supported by the Instructors body suggests they are looking to improve their pass rates by dumbing the test down, what next? demonstrating an ability to change a CD while driving at speed on a trunk road?

    1. Chris G

      An interesting point, how often do instructors have to renew their skills/licence in teaching to allow for changes in current driving conditions.

      In fact what are the requirements now to be an instructor?

      As for indicators and hazard lights, they drive me crazy.

      Hazard lights apparently mean if you switch them on while you are still driving, you can stop where and when you like without any further signalling and even if it's in an inconvenient place for other traffic but its OK because your hazards are on.

      Of course indicators are definitely for saying I have just turned this corner or I have just exited this roundabout.

      Whatever happened to " Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre" in the teaching?

  11. Philip Hands

    GPS training seems like a great idea

    As long as the GPS used for the test is programmed to suggest a route that will make them fail the test if they trust it blindly (e.g. entering a busses-only road, or against the flow on a one-way street).

  12. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Satnav lesson 1

    1) how to turn the bloody thing off

    Do this and you have passed.

    My former next door neighbour used to set her satnav for a trip to the local Tesco's. Less than one mile and you had to pass the bloody place to get off the housing development. She got all snotty when I asked wht she did that. Her excuse was that she needed to know if there were any traffic holdups. you could just about see the place from her bedroom window.

    Pass me the GPS Jammer please.{only joking M'lord}

  13. Arachnoid

    Elf and safety

    Im suprised no one suggested doing all the training and the test on a simulator yet to further cut the risk of learner drivers on the road to other road users, oh and reduce congestion of course.

    1. Dazed and Confused

      Re: Elf and safety

      Perhaps they should have a simulator based test first.

      One advantage of a simulator test is that it would be easier to control, give everyone the same test and not give you testers who say things like "turn left there" just as you go past the road.

      The disadvantage of a simulator based test would that it wouldn't be anything like actually driving a car.

    2. John Tserkezis

      Re: Elf and safety

      "Im suprised no one suggested doing all the training and the test on a simulator yet to further cut the risk of learner drivers on the road to other road users, oh and reduce congestion of course."

      Going on the standard of today's drivers, the simulator is the ONLY place I'd be comfortable having them.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Are they mad?

    "We are carrying out initial research to explore how the driving test could better reflect real-life driving,"

    I look forward to watching candidates perform the "Enter the roundabout at 40mph without looking, cut up on the inside of the car already on the roundabout and exit in front of them, having caused them to slam on their brakes" manoeuvre. Should be fun.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Are they mad?

      Yeah - and I'm looking forward to the Slow down to a crawl because you can see a roundabout 200 meters ahead, then stop when you reach the roundabout despite there being no cars in sight, wait a bit longer just to be sure a car won't hove into view in the distance, then have a final moment of hesitation before finally proceeding onto the roundabout, being sure to cut across the inner lane where the frustrated chap who's been stuck behind your dawdling ass for miles was about to take the opportunity to get past you manoeuvre. (BTW - it's perfectly legal to pass someone on the inside of a roundabout if the exit of the roundabout has two lanes).

      Also, I'm looking forward to the Looking at the empty road ahead of you wondering why people complain about traffic congestion, whilst remaining utterly ignorant of the two mile tailback following in your wake manoeuvre.

      1. PNGuinn

        Re: Are they mad?

        You forgot:

        ... then have a final moment of hesitation before finally proceeding onto the roundabout RIGHT IN FRONT OF THE CAR WHICH WAS NOWHERE IN SIGHT WHEN YOU ARRIVED ...

  15. phil dude

    android cars...

    Can't wait for self-driving cars - it will come to the highways first...

    Imagine how much life would be saved?

    Imagine the freedom for people who cannot drive?

    Imagine the transport of goods regardless of the day of the week (yes,I have a package sitting in a depot that I cannot access until Monday because the system is setup that way...).

    Imagine not needing to own a car?

    Yesterday's dreams are tomorrows reality.

    And the beer icon...obviously...!


  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "We are carrying out initial research to explore how the driving test could better reflect real-life driving"

    When I say proceed, take your sandwich out of its wrapper and proceed to nibble while over taking that slow moving lorry. Taking care not drop any filling on the upholstery.

    1. Arachnoid

      Re: Really?

      Nearby here that would be followed by : pass the vehicle/s parked on the near side using the opposite side of the road,continue forward at speed heading towards the closly approaching vehicles until they slow to let you pass.

      Any use of the horn by these vehicles is to be responded to with a wave of the hand

  17. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge


    do the SatNav part in Midhurst sussex, where a large sign says "DO NOT FOLLOW SATNAV DIRECTIONS"

    Still.... should be easy to spot the people taking the test since the mirrors and indicators will have long been removed to preclude any chance of accidently using them and failing the test

  18. Scott Broukell

    A growing number of road users have a greater sense of entitlement and a diminished sense of consideration for other road users - something it may be possible to address in driver training. A few hours training on a bicycle/scooter might go some way towards trainees understanding the vulnerabilities faced by some other road user groups. It doesn't really matter where you are driving, two things should always be foremost in your mind, speed and distance - along with the condition of the road surface and the state of the vehicle you are driving. Other than those points, it has to be said that competent drivers need to comprehensively learn how to use the controls (see very first posting - Stephen Tompsett). But, bad habits can be picked up along the way, so it's perhaps not a bad thing to have follow-up tests. I would be happy to have my own errors pointed out to me by a trained instructor. Perhaps the hardest part of driving for the younger generation these days are the elements of distraction provided by mobile devices and yobbish, thoughtless passengers.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't understand why they feel the need to cut things from the test so that they can put other things in, there's no time limit on the test. The addition of a sat nav following section seems like a reasonable idea though, love them or loathe them most of the young people taking there tests now will be using them extensively.

    They need to start being a bit more realistic with the tests though. For example with the three point turn: the test taker rather than the instructor should have to find a convenient safe place to perform the manoeuvre and they should be expected to perform it safely and quickly. When I took my test performing a three point turn was a painful experience having to wait for the road to be clear for a mile each way. In reality most people will wait for you to stop being a pain in the rear and let you complete the manoeuvre and get out of the way. Making that judgement call is part of being an experienced driver.

    1. Graham Marsden

      "there's no time limit on the test"

      Oh, but there has to be, because Testers' time is expensive and the more people you can shoe-horn into a day's worth of testing, the more cuts to the number of Testers you can make...

      1. nijam Silver badge

        Re: "there's no time limit on the test"

        The more people you can shoe-horn into a day, the more thay can increase the daily quota of fails (= re-test fees). And yes, I know that they deny that there's a failure quota... and you know how much you can believe them.

  20. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Stupid Idea

    I travel a lot of narrow country roads. It is amazing how many people can't even reverse in a straight line to get to the passing place... that they drove past at high speed when I was clearly in sight.

    Then there was the one that wanted me to reverse a mile up hill when there was a passing place right on the corner she'd just gone round. She tried to put on the poor little girl act, but unfortunately for her, I knew the road extremely well, and was in absolutely no hurry. She finally got the message when I grabbed a book, got out of the car and leant against a fence to read it. I wish I'd had a camera. her performance was hilarious - along with much cursing :)

    1. Graham Marsden

      @Will Godfrey - Re: Stupid Idea

      Good, but not quite as good as my friend who had some idiot try to make him back his camper van half a mile back down a lane because said idiot didn't want to reverse back to the passing place he'd just ignored.

      My friend's response was "I've got a toilet and a bed in here, I'm not going anywhere..." :-)

  21. Beornfrith

    Although I don't agree with the removal of some of these things I do think there's room for improvement in the test. I honestly think that certain 'instant fail' errors should be altered to instead be equivalent to, for example, five minors.

    The case in point is my wife, who has just completed her training. In her first test she got just two minors (one of which was 'slight hesitation' (which is what she had been taught)) but while reversing around the left-hand bend she bumped the kerb and thus failed the test. Ironically, it was this reversing move that she was most confident with and both before and after the test displayed the uncanny knack of keeping the car and almost exactly uniform distance from the kerb. It was ultimately just nerves that got her and the examiner actually apologised to her for having to fail someone that could clearly drive.

    My thought, then, is that an incident such as touching a kerb during a manoeuvre becomes worth a figure of 'x' minors, say five or ten. In my wife's instance that would mean she would have ended up with seven or twelve minors overall but ultimately would have passed. If a driver is making a lot of mistakes then something like a kerb-bump would still likely end up being the straw that breaks the camel's back.

    It seems bizarre to me that the current system allows poor drivers to make mistake after mistake in their test but still pass, whereas someone who demonstrates a good standard of ability is undone immediately by something like touching a kerb. I'm sure we all know of someone who has passed and, on seeing their driving, quietly ask yourself "How...?"

    Don't get me wrong, though. There obviously are events that should trigger an instant fail, such as pulling out in to oncoming traffic without indicating or putting a One Direction CD on.

    PS: For what it's worth, my better half passed on her second attempt with four minors.

  22. Graham Marsden


    ... to make motorcycling "safer", in order to qualify for a full and unrestricted motorcycle licence, you need to jump through a ridiculous number of hoops and take several tests, despite the fact that two thirds of accidents involving motorbikes and other vehicles in urban settings have been shown to be the fault of the other vehicle and very often a "Right of Way Violation" where, for example, a car has pulled out of a junction into the path of the bike.

    For some reason, though, the idea of limiting the size of cars that new drivers can use, let alone requiring them to take more tests has been resisted by TPTB...

    1. PNGuinn

      Re: Meanwhile...

      Mmm.... That's just given me a pictue of a leather cladded biker on his test having to hit a speed bump at 60 mph and jump through a flaming hoop held by the examiner. While using a satnav.

      Have a beer.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Then if it's real life driving...

    They should also teach them how to text and drive since they'll do it anyway.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Sorry to be pedantic but the "three point turn" was abolished years ago. You're allowed to use as many points as you like, as long as you do it safely. Hence it has been called "Turn in the road" for at least a decade.

    I agree with scrapping reverse around a corner, it's incredibly hard to perform within the bounds they set, I'm willing to bet most drivers on the road today couldn't pass it.

    1. Chris G

      Re: Pedantic

      If you find it difficult to reverse around a corner perhaps you should consider whether to drive at all as unconsciously you should always do the following to maintain position relative to the edge of the road/ centre line other cars etc

      In a car with a rear screen; stop the car at 2 or 3 feet out from the kerb, sitting in the driver seat either look in the interior mirror or turn and look over your shoulder, line up the point in the screen with the kerb and remember the point then place a small piece of masking tape at that point on the screen. Get back into your seat and reverse keeping the tape aligned with the kerb, Done!

      I learned that in the '60s and I am sure it hasn't changed, the only time I ever used it was on my test.

      If you always index the kerb to a point on the screen or in the mirror if you are driving a van or truck you will maintain a smooth line parallel to the kerb/edge of the road.

      I am fairly sure the brain is constantly comparing the view through the screen mirror from moment to moment in order to maintain station relative to everything else, that's all the trick is to reversing but with one little sighting point as an aid..

      1. The Bobster

        Re: Pedantic

        Heh. Two small dots of carefully aligned tipp-ex on the bottom of the rear window of the driving school's vehicle (which was also used for taking tests).

  25. G R Goslin

    And there was I....

    And there was I thinking that the test was to establish whether or not you had due competence in driving a car in all circumstances, with you mind totally concentrated on what was happening on the road.

  26. Number6

    Doesn't have to be three...

    Technically it isn't a three-point turn. When I took the test it was "turn the car around, using the forward and reverse gears". There was nothing in the rules to say it had to only be three points, you could take more provided you did it in a safe manner. I always wondered what would happen if someone started by reversing, in theory you could do it in two.

    The road on which I did mine was almost wide enough for a U-turn, but that might have been a way of apologising for the reverse-around a corner bit which was up a steep hill backwards to the turn, then down a steep hill having made the turn. This was followed by another couple of steep hill starts to get back on to the main road.

    1. WraithCadmus

      Re: Doesn't have to be three...

      When I did it ('02) I recall being told to start the manoeuvre with a forward turn rather than a reverse, my guess is so that it takes at least three parts, and they can get a better impression of your skill.

  27. J.G.Harston Silver badge

    Being serious...

    what would actual be useful for drivers is mandatory instruction on motorway driving. Just passed your test? Right, let's tear up the M1 on your tod.

    1. WraithCadmus

      Re: Being serious...

      While a great idea in theory there's quite a few large towns which are a noticeable distance from the motorway network. Making it mandatory would be a (probably unfair) burden on those bumpkins in terms of time and tuition cost, looking at the maps it would have taken me an hour each way just to get to the nearest junction, and I wasn't even that isolated (rural Lincolnshire).

      EDIT: That said there are other parts of the test which can be hobbled by local geography, one town near me was popular for the test as it only had two roundabouts, and one of those was urban so nice and slow.

  28. Zap

    Stupid Government.

    New drivers are bad enough, if we remove these filters then there will be more accidents

    What they could do is have a second test for motorway driving which seems essential as nobody seems to understand the keep left rule.

    If the Government want to tinker with the roads then make all motorways 4 lanes, with only cars allowed in the right two lanes, the left two lanes being reserved for Lorries, Vans, old people and idiots.

    Retaking of test is just a way to rake in more money from citizens.

    1. montyburns56

      "New drivers are bad enough, if we remove these filters then there will be more accidents"

      So how many accidents are the result of a drivers inability to reverse around a corner or do a three point turn? Most accidents are caused by driving too fast for the conditions and/or poor judgment not by the ability to reverse.

  29. Pedo Bear

    I don't care

    I have been driving for nearly 20 years and I don't care about 3 point turns, U turns etc etc as I to be honest I don't really need to use them however what I do care about it the muppets that don't understand the speed limits i.e. doing 20 in a 50 or 30 in a national speed limit area when the signposts clearly state the speed. What I most hate is the people that do 40 on the motorway before they exit or enter at 40. Driving to slow is not only dangerous but should be drummed into the new drivers as such and to be fair should be informed to the older drivers too as I swear it's in the highway code as being dangerous.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reversing around a corner.

    When I was a white van man (tm) I found this manoeuvre indispensable. When you miss your turning to a new delivery, a quick reverse around a convenient corner and a right turn to get back towards the delivery.

    I can also recommend the C+E test, with the test starting on the manoeuvre and braking area, before you even get on the road.

    You need to drive your vehicle forward an stop between two cones (width and front projection perception), then reverse diagonally into a "loading bay" (control of trailer, width and length of vehicle perception), finally followed by a drive forward and brake to a stop without loss of traction (control under heavy braking)

    Don't get me started on "block / gate" gear changes and preparation to enter a roundabout.

  31. strum


    One of the benefits of the 3-pointer, and 'of reversing round corner' is that they require driving slowly. It's much harder to drive slowly than to drive fast - and you shouldn't do the latter, until you can do the former.

  32. A Twig

    My driving improved no end when I got into driving older cars.

    Old drum brakes, no abs/traction control/limited slip diffs, no power steering etc, suddenly gave me a huge appreciation for good anticipation, driving at a speed appropriate for the conditions, and correct application of braking distances.

    An issue I've noticed recently is that modern automotive technology is now at such a state where one can drive really pretty badly and 90% of the time the technology will get you out of trouble. For example, entering a corner too quickly and slamming on the brakes halfway round in most modern cars no longer spits you into a tree on the far side of the road in the same way that a car of 30 years ago would have done. this means that driving becomes a mental background activity for many drivers, so bad driving becomes self fulfilling.

    Within that 10% area of driving badly and it really going wrong, it is then beyond even that scope of modern driving aids to recover. You then are seriously in the shit, as invariably it is a driver who has never experienced anything like this before in a car that is out of control to such an extent that even the various technologies cannot cope. A lot of the technologies also reduce the feedback to the driver. In an old car it is invariably easier to sense when things are getting a bit hairy and ease off, whereas in my experience of modern vehicles it seems a lot more binary (everything is fine up to the point where it all goes wrong).

    I don't think it is feasible for all drivers to learn in old vehicles (nor is it a particularly good idea), but I think a power/size/weight/speed restriction for new drivers might not be such a bad idea. Such a vehicle would inevitably be small, slow and missing many of the "sports" features which facilitate poor/aggressive driving, thus learning would be improved.

    I also think that driving lessons should contain a mandatory skid pan session simulating icy/very wet conditions to ensure that drivers do not freeze up when it does all go wrong (as it inevitably will at some point in a drivers life).

    1. ChrisBedford

      All new drivers' first cars should Landies

      The Defender - 110" wheel-base.

      Yeah, I know - "fuel consumption", but (a) solid as a rock - it would take being hit by an artic to capsize one of those things (b) tough as nails (c) drum brakes, manual gearbox, rough-as-hell clutch and no power steering (d) well, fuel consumption - Junior is going to be driving slowly (e) availability of parts, plus of course simplicity of repair. No-one should drive a car s/he can't repair him/herself.

      Does this view make me a driving Nazi? :-D

  33. John 61

    As a pedestrian... Why

    not have everyone drive on straight roads. Oh, and there will be re-test fees when the sats aren't navving because the USA has switched the GPS off. Maybe they should teach drivers to drive whilst on mobile 'phones? I know it's illegal to do so, but a lot round here do it anyway. Do you like my nice roadsign?

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