Emerging Left

Driving Tutorials | Emerging Left (minor to major)

Let’s imagine you approach a T-junction on an average 30 mph road and you intend to turn left.


On approach use the MSM - PSL routine. See MSM Routine


On approach check your rear view mirror and left door mirror to check the speed and position of following traffic.


Think about where you will apply your left signal. Ensure there are no other junctions or major openings on the left before the junction as your signal may give the impression you are turning into one of them. If so, delay the signal until you have passed them.


Keep to the left (about a doors width or 1 metre from the kerb) and follow the curvature of the kerb so when you come to a stop you are at an angle ready to drive away. 


Brake progressively on approach to the junction so your speed reduces gradually to avoid harsh braking when nearing the line. 

There is no need to change down through the gears. Imagine you have approached in 4th gear and brought the speed down gradually, at a certain point approx 15-20 mph (before the car starts jumping because you are in too high a gear) you will need to dip the clutch, (this will be sooner in a diesel car than a petrol due to the different gearing).

Open Junction 

On an open junction you may be able to select 2nd gear at this point, (Use the 4 car rule, if you can see both ways 4 car lengths back its generally ok to use 2nd gear) do the minimum observations, Right Left Right Left and smoothly bring the clutch up and continue onto the new road. Check left door mirror just before emerging

Closed Junction 

On a closed junction or any junction with a limited view it’s probably best to use first gear to emerge (most t-junctions fall into this category) and creep the car on approach to the give way line. 

Remember you MUST stop at a stop line even if the road appears clear. There is no need to apply the handbrake, however you must make it a stop. It is usually best to stay in the gear you are in until you stop, then change the gear, then Look. 

On a junction with neither a give way or stop line you still give way, the road across the top of the ‘T’ has priority even without any marking.


You should start your observations on the approach to a junction as early as you can see into the new road. 

Your minimum observations at a t-junction are right - left - right - left again before crossing a give way /stop line / end of kerb line. 

Look to the left to see if there are any parked vehicles that will force you to turn onto the other side of the road. If so you will need to give way to traffic from the left. 

There may be parked cars on the opposite side of the road forcing traffic from the left to approach you on the wrong side. Again you will need to give way to avoid a head on collision. 

When looking right you will obviously give way to traffic, but if someone approaches with a left signal to turn into your road and they are close enough to hit you should their signal be wrong then wait. Once you see a second sign such as the car slowing heavily or the car actually starting to turn then you will know for sure that it is then safe. 

If the vehicle is large such as a bus or lorry, be aware of vehicles behind it that are obscured from your view. They may try and overtake the turning vehicle, and you would be in danger if you are in the process of emerging. If you can’t see then don’t go. 

Check the left door mirror just before moving away for cyclists and pedestrians, this is particularly important in slow queuing traffic. 

Remember to check the interior mirror when entering a new road, to see what may have changed behind you.


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