Right Turn – Profound Thoughts On The Speed Of It

We are answering a question today about right turn speeds. It’s very profound.


I have gone through three different driving instructors

And they all have different methods of turning right.

-I kept my car straight with 1 meter away from the curb, and I turned when my bumper reached the intersection, but I was told that I turned too fast…which I disagree.

The instructor told me that I had to turn my car to the edge of the intersection at 45 degrees, then turn at A WALKING SPEED(5 km/h – 10 km/h).

They said not to accelerate during the turn, only coast with the walking speed. Then they said to accelerate when the turn is finished( wheel straight).

So now, I am confused as hell.

The way I feel comfortable is keeping my car completely straight for most of the intersections and once safe to go, I accelerate steadily to the speed limit. During turn speed : 0 -> 10 -> 20, wheel straight: 20 -> 35…


{Stop sign and red light.}

Hello! First of all, us driving instructors are very annoying. Each one seems to have a completely different way of teaching and explaining things. It doesn’t seem helpful, does it?

Also please consider checking out my Stop Signs eBook! Yes, I wrote an entire ebook all about stop signs and it is for new drivers or anybody trying to refresh or teach someone else about the stop sign intersection rules. It gets into the right of way rulesintersection etiquettes, safe stopping positioning, dealing with pedestrians, 4-way stops, and so much more. It goes into a lot more detail than this article. I wish I had had something like that when I was learning!

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This is such a difficult question to answer. Basic turns – and teaching them too – has got to be one of the most difficult things in the area of driver education. I am not even sure I have the answer!

Read more: Turning Corners – How To Stop Cutting Corners and Turning Wide

I think that when you’re learning driving you have to proceed slowly in the beginning to ensure you are first and foremost controlling the vehicle.

How long have you been learning driving? If you are learning turning then it probably means you are still quite fresh.

  • Don’t freak out
  • Do keep practicing

A perfect and slow-motion, Snail-speed turn is a thousand times better than a fast and out-of-control, incorrect turn.

Fast and out-of-control, incorrect turns when you’re learning driving can be very frightening for the co-pilot and the driver too!

Not to mention, they increase the chances of you running into things like curbs.

So maybe if you’re very new at driving, a walking speed might be appropriate.

You will always be able to speed up the turns later when you have more experience. You have a whole lifetime of driving ahead of you.

But just in my opinion, I would worry about the technique first and then add the speed later.

Ultimate goal would be to either coast through the turn and then speed up to the speed limit or to add a bit of speed through the turn and then speed up to the speed limit (relative to conditions).

Having the car 1 meter away from the curb before you turn right is a good general guideline, and I think it even mentions this in the ICBC tuning-up guide. 

This is good because…

  • it means you’ve moved your car over to the right
  • so your turn starts from the correct position
  • allowing you do actually do a proper-looking turn
  • other people can see what you’re doing
  • the other humans won’t be confused and think that maybe you’re turning left or going straight
  • you’ve moved potentially out of the way of the traffic behind you that may not be turning right
  • (this avoids frustrating other drivers and avoids creating unnecessary traffic holdups)
  • and it is also good because it is no longer possible for another vehicle to pass you on the right (say someone that doesn’t believe your right turn signal, and is just judging you based on the position of your vehicle, which may be not close enough to the curb, or insanely far away from it in certain cases of very new learner drivers;)

Sure you could get closer to the curb, maybe at the expense of making your co-pilot nervous.. or worse.

When you’re experienced, there’s nothing stopping you from getting your vehicle however close to the curb as you want.

Though, you then have to be more careful that you don’t whack the curb with the back tires because it will be very easy to do so.

But for a simple right turn, there is generally no need to get that close.

Some drivers go that close when they are trying to squeeze their vehicle in between the curb and another vehicle that is turning left, for example.

This is of course more difficult (and probably slower) of a turn.

So don’t do that unless you want to make your life more difficult! Tires, rims, & alignments are not cheap either.

The idea with the 1 meter thing is to make your turn as correct, safe, easy, and efficient as it can be.

If you’re talking about turning right on stop signs & red lights, then more often than not you may need to proceed at a walking speed/slow motion (after you’ve stopped of course) until you can see that it’s safe to turn (since you’re at the stop sign you have to look for other traffic before you turn right, right?)

If you keep your vehicle perfectly straight and roll into the intersection until you have good visibility, then your turn will probably be a WIDE one. This wide turn will need to be corrected.

You must multitask.

In many cases you have to

  • roll forward slowly
  • while looking for traffic
  • and pedestrians 
  • while also turning the steering wheel to have the vehicle follow the natural curve of the curb (the corner). This is so that your turn would look the same as it would if there were no stop sign or red light there (one where you never stopped)… if that makes any sense. Oh why do I write such long sentences.

If they are not telling you automatically, please ask your instructor WHY they are saying these tips and this information like slow motion, speed up, don’t speed up, 1 meter, too fast, 45 angle, walking speed, etc, etc.

You must know why you are doing things in life, especially when driving ;)

There is always a reason and if you know what it is everything will just make soooo much more sense.  

I am sure if you ask, your instructor will enlighten you with all of the many reasons there are for different practices while driving.

Hope that helps for now. I have added this to my list of things to make a video about for the future.

For now, don’t stress about it just keep practicing! Turns are a little bit evil.

Thanks Jackie for the very good and very difficult-to-answer question.

Carmen Cohoe

Carmen became a driving instructor in beautiful North Vancouver at the age of 22 due to some crazy people who agreed to hire her. After that, there was never a dull moment teaching many different folks from many different places how to drive using automatic and standard vehicles and a minivan.

9 thoughts on “Right Turn – Profound Thoughts On The Speed Of It

  • Savannagh Ryane

    Try being a newer standard driver, with a Japanese tourist in the car. I was all set to go right on my red, when she screamed. Stopped me dead. It turns out this is NOT allowed in Japan and she thought I was trying to get us killed. Fun. After explaining its allowed here and with angry drivers behind me, I completed the turn.

  • Kiwiz

    I’m a student driver as well I just wanted to ask when turning right at a green light, is it necessary to break first before turning? I usually tap on the break slightly before turning (right or left) and failed the road test for turning right too slowly because I taped on the break. If I don’t use the break however, the car skids or people inside the car get thrown the side of the car as I turn. I know this means I turned at a very fast speed, what should I aim the speed to be when turning?

    • Usually I would recommend 20 km/hr or less. Maybe 15 km/hr if you are simply turning without stopping first. Slow down before you turn.. then turn and then speed up after.

      • Kiwiz

        Thank you for replying :))) I appreciate it. So when should I start slowing to get it to 20km/h or less? I was also told that I slow down way to early. Whenever I get to a designated lane for right turns that’s when i start to slow but if there’s no designated lane then I panic and don’t know when to start slowing down and feel I do it to late or too early. Thanks for the tip.

  • Jackie Ye

    Thank you for posting. It really clears thing up for me.

    It is hard to drive safe when every driver around you is in such hurry :(

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