Skip to Content

Do you slow down when turning?

When driving a vehicle, one of the most important driving skills is knowing when and how much to slow down when making turns. Turning at high speeds can lead to dangerous skids or rollovers. Understanding proper turning techniques and speed control is crucial for safe driving.

Why do you need to slow down before turns?

There are a few key reasons why slowing down before making a turn is essential:

  • Reduces the centripetal force – Making a turn applies a force that pulls the vehicle outward. Slowing down reduces this force and improves control.
  • Avoids skids – Turning too fast can break traction and cause the tires to skid. Slowing down keeps the tires gripping the road.
  • Prevents rollovers – SUVs and trucks can roll over if turned too quickly. Slower speeds help keep all four wheels planted.
  • Improves visibility – When traveling slower, drivers have more time to spot hazards and react.
  • Allows for a smoother turn – With less momentum, the vehicle is easier to steer steadily through the turn.

The bottom line is that proper speed reduction results in better stability and control when turning a corner.

How much should you slow down before a turn?

There is no single formula for determining the optimal speed reduction for a turn. The appropriate amount to slow down depends on several factors:

  • Sharpness of the turn – The tighter the turn angle, the more speed needs to be shed.
  • Road conditions – Slippery roads require greater speed reductions than dry pavement.
  • Vehicle type – Larger vehicles like trucks need to slow down more than cars.
  • Vehicle load – Heavier loads affect a vehicle’s handling and require earlier braking.
  • Driver skill – Inexperienced drivers should be more cautious and slow down further.

As a general guideline, most drivers should slow down to 10-20 mph for tight turns and intersections. Gentle turns may only require lifting off the accelerator and light braking. When in doubt, it’s safest to shed more speed before turning.

What techniques can be used for proper turning speed?

Drivers have several techniques they can use to properly control speed when making turns:

  • Gradual braking – Start slowing early by gently pressing the brake pedal. Avoid hard last-second braking before a turn.
  • Downshifting – Manually shift to a lower gear in advance of the turn. This provides engine braking.
  • Rolling off the throttle – For gentle turns, simply easing off the gas pedal may be enough.
  • Following speed limits – Obey posted speed limits, which are set with turns in mind.
  • Scanning ahead – Look well ahead to identify turns early and begin slowing sooner.

Utilizing these techniques helps drivers enter turns at the appropriate cautious speed to maintain control and stability.

What are the consequences of turning too fast?

Driving into a turn too quickly can result in catastrophic consequences. Some potential dangers include:

  • Skidding off the road – Overwhelming grip limits can break traction and send the vehicle sliding off the pavement.
  • Rollovers – SUVs and trucks can roll over if their center of gravity shifts too far outward in a turn.
  • Losing control – High-speed turning overwhelms a vehicle’s stability systems and can result in spinouts.
  • Collisions – Other vehicles, objects, or pedestrians can be struck if the turn is misjudged.
  • Passenger injury – Unrestrained occupants may be thrown about or even ejected in a rollover crash.

In addition to catastrophic crashes, even minor consequences like curb impacts or damage from running off the road can result from excessive turning speed.

How do stability control systems help with turning?

Modern vehicles are equipped with stability control systems that can help compensate for turning mistakes. These systems work by:

  • Applying brakes to individual wheels to correct oversteer or understeer.
  • Reducing engine power to slow the vehicle if needed.
  • Tightening seatbelts to prepare for a possible crash.

Stability control can help avoid fishtailing, spinouts, or rollovers in emergency turning situations. However, these systems have limits, so the best practice remains proper proactive speed reduction by the driver.

What other driver aids help with turning safety?

In addition to stability control, other modern driver assistance technologies can also help improve turning safety. These include:

  • Blind spot monitoring – Alerts drivers to unseen vehicles in adjacent lanes before changing lanes to turn.
  • Rear cross traffic alert – Warns of approaching perpendicular traffic when backing up to turn.
  • Lane keeping assist – Provides steering input to prevent drifting out of the lane during a turn.
  • Adaptive headlights – Headlights that pivot into a turn to better illuminate the road ahead.

However, drivers should never rely solely on these aids. Focusing on proper turning techniques remains essential for safety.

What are some turning safety tips for specific vehicle types?

Some vehicles require additional precautions and driver training for safe turning. Here are some key tips:

SUVs and trucks

  • Slow more for turns due to a higher center of gravity.
  • Avoid abrupt steering inputs that could lead to a rollover.
  • Load cargo low and concentrate weight over or ahead of the rear axle.

Tractor trailers

  • Slow well in advance to allow time for braking.
  • Be aware of “crack-the-whip” effect and steer gently in turns.
  • Watch swingout room needed for trailer in rear view mirrors.


  • Reduce speed before turns more than a car would.
  • Lean body into turns and steer gently.
  • Avoid braking or shifting gears mid-turn.

Taking the time to learn the unique handling dynamics of specialized vehicle types helps compensate for their increased turning risks.

How can road design impact turning safety?

Road design characteristics can influence the risks associated with turns. Some examples include:

  • Banked curves – Angling the road assists with tire grip in turns.
  • Number of lanes – More lanes provide room to decelerate in turns.
  • Shoulder width – Wide shoulders provide recovery room if drivers leave the road.
  • Embankments – Steep slopes increase rollover risk if a roadside is struck.
  • Drainage – Improper drainage can cause hydroplaning in turns when wet.

Understanding road deficiencies that could compound turning hazards helps drivers be prepared and vigilant.


Turning is one of the most complex and dangerous driving maneuvers. Drivers must enter turns at prudent speeds that avoid skidding or rollover. Techniques like gradual braking, scanning ahead, and learning the unique handling of specialized vehicles helps improve safety. While modern stability control helps correct mistakes, responsible drivers understand that appropriately slowing down before turns is essential for accident prevention.