Driving Lessons

Cowley’s School of Motoring


What to look for on approach to a junction.

On the approach to the junction look for information that will help you navigate it safely.

What type of junction is it?

 How much traffic is there?

Look for any warning signs.

What road markings are there?

Is it a ‘give way’ or ‘stop’ junction?

Is it traffic light controlled?


For all junctions we will be using the M.S.P.S.L routine.


Check your mirrors to assess if your actions will affect the vehicles behind and also how they may affect you.


Signal in good time, before you start to slow down, however avoid signalling too early as this may be misinterpreted by other road users.


Choose the correct position for the junction in good time. Positioning can be a good signal to others where you’re going. 


Look for other traffic and hazards.

Assess the situation.

Decide whether to go or wait.

Act on your decision.

Turning Left

Approach using your normal driving position, don’t move to the right to get a better angle as this could be dangourous for oncomming vehicles and any cars overtaking.

Choose an appropriate speed, rememering some corners may be sharp. Match the gear to the speed you have choosen.

Watch out for parked vehicles near the junction, as this may mean you need to move onto the other side of the road or vehicle approaching may be on your side of the road.

Watch for pedestrians already crossing, as they have prioity. Also look out for pedestrians approaching to cross as they may not have seen you.

Take care and look for cyclist coming up on your left before turning, particularly if there is a cycle lane or bus lane.

After turning check your mirrors and if safe to do so start to increase your speed.


Turning Right

Position yourself as close to the centre of the road as safe to do so, so that vehicles can pass on your left if there’s room. Take into account any parked vehicles on the right hand side of the road, which would mean oncoming cars need more space.

Choose a speed that allows you to turn safely and assess a safe gap.

Give way to the oncoming traffic. Try to approach at a speed that allows you to get to your point of turn when there is a gap, avoiding stopping can help with fuel economy and the smoothness of your drive.

Watch for pedestrians already crossing as they have priority.

Watch for parked cars near the junction. These may mean you need to cross over the centre line when turning. However you MUST NOT cross over the centre line until you’re sure it’s safe to do so. Slow down and before you turn check into the new road for any oncoming vehicles. 


When emerging from a junction you will need to judge the speed and distance of the traffic on the road you intend to merge into.

First look ahead for information about the junction you’re approaching. Is it a ‘give way’ or ‘stop’ junction? Is it an ‘open’ or ‘closed’ junction? (This basically means how much can you see on the approach and will affect your speed at the junction.)

Give Way

Give way junctions mean you must wait for any traffic that you would cause to change speed or direction if you moved into the road. Approach slowly giving yourself time to assess the traffic, creeping the car forward if necessary.

Stop Junction

You must stop at a stop junction. Stop junctions will generally have low visability or some other hazard that needs extra time to assess.

Apporoach the junction slowly and come to a stop. Only move off once you have a clear view and you’re certain its safe to do so.

Myth buster: It is not necessary to apply the handbrake at these junctions. You may want t for the normal reasons you’d apply the handbrake but it’s not a requirement.


For a left emerge follow the path on the road.

For a right emerge position just left of the centre line.

Deciding when to go.

Deciding when to go involves judging the speed and distance of the cars on the road. Your ability to make this decsion will come down to your field of vision.

Your vision can be blocked by many objects, for example, buildings, parked cars and bends in the road.

As you creep the car forward your vision of the road will increase, those last few feet are crucial to get the best view.

Never rush this decision, junctions are a flash point for accidents. Take your time and assess the traffic, are there any points you can’t see? Only go once you are sure it’s safe to move on.

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