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You must shoulder check when turning left to be a safer, smarter driver!

Why We Shoulder (Head) Check When Turning Left


Closed Caption


Hi there smart drivers, Rick with Smart Drive Test talking to you today about why we shoulder check on a left-hand turn.

I had a comment from Kenny Gap and he wanted to know the reasons why we had to shoulder checked on left-hand turns.

No matter the vehicle, always stop in traffic so you can see the tires of the vehicle in front making clear contact with the road surface.

I'm here in Vancouver and you can see behind me here the very busy intersection.

As well, in these large urban centers they have what we call "crazy courier cyclits" and sometimes those courier cycles will pedal up beside you when you're sitting at an intersection.

So you need to shoulder check for that And as well some cars - if they're experiencing road rage and thinking that you're not going fast enough, they will cut on the inside of you to get around you on a left-hand turn.

Because 20 years ago when I took my instructor's license, I asked the very same question:

Why do we have to shoulder check on the left-hand turn?

As part of the observation for driving, be sure that you're shoulder checking to the left any time you turn or move the vehicle laterally.

And no sooner did I ask that question, two days later I was making a left-hand turn into the Ottawa General Hospital and a taxi cab, indeed did that and cut on the inside of me while I was making a left-hand turn.

So it's imperative that you shoulder check prior to making a left-hand turn and immediately prior.

The other thing about shoulder checking on a left-hand turn is that it is part of the four basic components of any road test:

1) communication;

2) observation;

3) speed management and

4) space management.

And shoulder checking is part of your observation.

When entering left-turning lanes, shoulder (head) check immediately before moving into the lane.

You have to be observing all the time that you're driving so that you see other traffic and are prepared in advance and don't end up being in a near-miss crash, and those types of things.

So it is one of the fundamental components of taking a road test.

And in the busier urban areas, like here in Vancouver, there are going to be people that are going to cutting on the inside of you, especially if you're learning and not going very fast, and they're experiencing road rage.

They're going to cut on the inside of you for a left-hand turn.

If you're having difficulty doing shoulder (head) checks when driving in traffic, go back to the parking lot and perfect this skill there.

So it's just as important on a left-hand turn that you shoulder check and learn how to observe properly because when you get out and start driving for the purposes of driving safely and driving defensively.

It is one of the key components of observation.

And so shoulder check - again approximately 1/2 block coming up to the turn, and then immediately before making the left-hand turn.

That way you've made sure that it's safe.

At a complex intersection, shoulder (head) check once when starting, and then again immediately before turning the vehicle.

In fact, any time you move your vehicle laterally and there are any other road users--scooters, bicycles, motorcycles, those types of things in and around you.

And if you go to other countries--just on that last note of motorcycles--in Australia motorcycles do not sit in traffic.

It is part of their driving culture that motorcycles move up to the intersection.

And I'm sure there's other countries--I think as well in Britain they also have that culture as well.

So that makes shoulder checking on a left-hand turn even more important.

Question for my smart drivers:

Do you shoulder check on a left-hand turn?


On multi turning lanes left, you have to shoulder check to ensure that you're in the spaces between the vehicles in the other lane.Leave a comment down in the comment section there - all that helps that the new drivers learning how to drive and get their license.

I'm Rick with Smart Drive Test.

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Stick around to the end of the video, funny bits and a link to the other videos and to my website.

When driving, do what you know is right. Don't get pressured by other road users to proceed...go when you're comfortable.

Thanks again for watching.

Good luck in your road test.

And remember, pick the best answer, not necessarily the right answer.

have a great day.

Bye now.


Testing - I don't know why this takes so long.

Why I'm so reluctant to get up here and just shoot these goofy videos because there's really just me here.

There's isn't anybody else! See...there's nobody over there, nobody over there nobody over there...

it's just me.

I can do whatever I want!

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Often, U turns can be done at T intersections in low density traffic without incident or interference.

How to Do A U-Turn

Learn how to do a U-Turn to pass your road test - watch the video.

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