How to Safely Make a Left Turn

Making a left turn might seem like a routine maneuver, but it requires careful attention to ensure safety on the road. It’s a critical maneuver that demands awareness of surrounding traffic, pedestrians, and road conditions. Whether you’re navigating bustling intersections in urban areas or transitioning smoothly from one-way streets, mastering the art of the left turn is fundamental for all drivers. Understanding and following specific guidelines provided by the Land Transportation Office (LTO) in the Philippines is essential to ensure compliance with local traffic laws and enhance road safety.

Also Read: How to Safely Make a U-Turn

Navigating a left turn involves a series of precise steps to execute the maneuver safely and efficiently. From proper signaling and lane positioning to yielding to oncoming traffic, each element contributes to a successful turn. By following these step-by-step instructions, drivers can confidently navigate left turns in diverse traffic scenarios, promoting smoother traffic flow and reducing the risk of accidents. Understanding and applying the guidelines listed here is the key to becoming a responsible and proficient driver on the road.

how to safely make a left turn

Making a Left Turn

A left turn is a fundamental maneuver that drivers encounter regularly on the road. It involves turning the vehicle to the left at an intersection or when transitioning from one street to another. Making a left turn means adjusting your speed, positioning, and signaling to safely navigate through traffic and avoid collisions. It’s crucial to approach left turns with caution and follow proper procedures to prevent accidents and ensure the smooth flow of traffic.

Making a left turn properly may seem simple enough to execute, but it’s actually much more than that. In fact, it is an important skill necessary to enhance road safety. It requires understanding of the right-of-way rules, checking for oncoming traffic, and positioning your vehicle correctly within the lane. To make a proper left turn, drivers must exercise the fundamentals of driving so they can navigate intersections confidently and responsibly, minimizing the risk of accidents and promoting efficient traffic flow on the roads.

How to Make a Left Turn Properly

Making a left turn might seem like a routine maneuver, but it requires careful attention to ensure safety on the road. Whether you’re navigating busy intersections or transitioning from one-way streets, mastering the art of the left turn is essential for all drivers. 

For the step-by-step instructions on how to make left turns safely and efficiently, here’s the guidelines set by the LTO.

Step 1. Getting Prepared

  • Planning Your Left Turn

Before approaching an intersection where you need to make a left turn, ensure you are in the appropriate lane well in advance. In the Philippines, this usually means positioning yourself in the lane closest to the center of the road if you intend to turn left.

  • Signaling and Slowing Down

About 30 meters before your turn, activate your left turn signal to indicate your intention to other drivers. Begin reducing your speed gradually, giving vehicles behind you ample notice of your upcoming maneuver.

Step 2. Identify the Road Conditions

Identify the kind of left turn you need to make from among the following road conditions:

  • Regular left turn at an intersection
  • Transitioning from one-way to two-way streets
  • One-way street to one-way street
  • Making a left turn on a red signal (one-way to one-way)

Step 3. Make the Left Turn 

Once you know the type of road conditions, make the left turn by following the steps listed below depending on the type of turn you need to make:

  • At a Regular Intersection
    • Positioning: Keep your vehicle pointed straight while waiting for the opportunity to turn left. Position yourself to cross the intersection safely when the light or traffic allows.
    • Executing the Turn: When it’s safe and the traffic light or intersection rules permit, make your left turn into the lane nearest to the center of the road. Be mindful of oncoming vehicles also turning left, ensuring they are to your right as you navigate the turn.
    • Watch for Large Vehicles: Be particularly cautious of long vehicles (like buses or trucks) that may require more space to make their turn. Give them extra room if they are also navigating the intersection.
  • Transitioning from One-way to Two-way Streets
    • Signaling and Checking: Activate your left turn signal and check for traffic behind you.
    • Lane Positioning: Move into the left-hand lane, positioning yourself just to the right of the centerline.
    • Ensuring Safety: Before initiating the turn, thoroughly scan your surroundings—check ahead, behind, and to both sides for any potential hazards.
  • One-way Street to One-way Street
    • Indicating Your Intentions: Use your left turn signal to communicate your intent.
    • Lane Selection: Move into the lane closest to the curb, aligning yourself for a smooth left turn.
    • Observing Your Surroundings: Before commencing the turn, ensure that the path is clear both to your right and left.
  • Making a Left Turn on a Red Signal (One-way to One-way)

In the Philippines, a left turn from a one-way street to another one-way street on a red signal is permissible under certain conditions:

  • Full Stop: Come to a complete stop before the intersection.
  • Right-of-Way: Yield to any pedestrians or vehicles that have the right-of-way.
  • Proceed with Caution: Once clear, proceed with your left turn while staying closest to the curb until you reach the appropriate speed for the one-way street.

Video: LTO Rules on Turning, Overtaking, and Right of Way

Understanding the proper way of making a left turn, overtaking, and yielding at intersections is important for drivers. To learn more about how to make a proper left turn as well as when to yield and overtake, you may check out this video from DriveSafe PH:


Mastering the proper technique for making a left turn is crucial for safe driving, not only for your own safety but also for the safety of other road users. Remember, road conditions and rules may vary, so always stay updated with local traffic regulations. Practice these techniques regularly to become a skilled and conscientious driver, ensuring smoother and safer journeys for yourself and others on the road.

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