TTSAO Training Tip – Fundamentals = Left-Hand Turn

This week’s Training Tip looks at practicing the “fundamentals.”

Sports teams work on fundamentals every practice so that it becomes ingrained in the unconscious and cemented into muscle memory. How’s that for a sports analogy when dealing with driving Big Rigs?

Today, we will look at the fundamental for making a left-hand turn.

Going to basics, it will look like this:

  • Setting up
  • Location, location, location
  • Clear path
  • Timing and speed
  • Clearance and landing
  • Finishing

Since left-hand turns tend to be the more dangerous, this is the better one to evaluate.

Begin by setting yourself up in the correct lane, moving to the closest edge of the lane on its left side. Be prepared to move forward as traffic or lights indicate.

Get into location and start the turn effectively. Location is key, so that when your path is clear you can take advantage of a safe movement. If you’re at a red light, stop behind the white stop line. When the light turns green, creep into your location, which would be about 1/3 into the intersection.

When your path is clear, move through the intersection when you’re unchallenged by other traffic and your speed will carry you without causing anyone else to brake, slow down, or come to a complete stop.

Completing the turn means you will have full clearance; therefore, will not touch the yellow line with your trailer wheels or a median curb (which damages tires and rims). To get complete clearance, watch your mirrors to see how much or little to steer and align your wheels/trailer within the first lane. Finish by ensuring your line is straight and that you’re positioned in the middle of your lane.

These basic “fundamentals” should be repeated on EVERY corner and become so routine that muscle memory takes over and becomes second nature.

TTSAO has great instructors that have so much to offer, including great tips for the week. If you have ones to share, contact TTSAO President Philip Fletcher at

Calling all Instructors and TTSAO Acreddited Schools

We invite you to submit your training tips to share in next week’s Training Tip of the Week. Your participation and offerings will truly benefit all our students, and we greatly appreciate your support. Thank you!


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