How To Drive Through A Bend

The first assessment you should make when approaching a bend is how sharp it is. If you get this wrong, you may skid and lose control of your car.

From your assessment of how sharp the bend is, your next question should be, is my current speed appropriate?

Remember the golden rule - you must be able to stop, on your side of the road, in the distance you can see to be clear.

To help you assess these points correctly, you need to pay attention to your surroundings. Look out for road signs and markings that signal the direction of the bend.

Right or left handed bend

Right-handed bend (left if symbol reversed)

Double bend

Double bend (first to left)

Junnction on a bend

Junction on a bend ahead

Sharp deviation

Sharp deviation in the direction indicated

If there are no signs or markings, then observe how the line of trees, hedgerows, buildings or street lights lining the road flow. This can give you a fair assessment of how sharp the bend is. Sometimes you may see skid marks on the road. These can indicate that a recent driver misjudged the bend and had to slam the brakes on to keep control.

When taking a right-hand bend, position your car towards the left of the lane, as this will:

Right Bend Left Position

Positioning your car towards the left gives you a better view in a right-hand bend

Right-Hand Bend Right Position

When taking a left-hand bend:

As you leave a bend, check your mirrors and gently accelerate to an appropriate speed for the road and traffic conditions.

Left-hand Bend Right Position

Positioning your car too close to the left will restrict your view.

Left-Hand Bend Left Position

Taking a bend becomes even trickier when the road surface is wet. In the wet, your tyres will have less grip on the road. Take a bend too quickly, whether in the wet or not, and you are likely to lose grip and skid out of control.

Limit Point Analysis

Another way to take a bend is by using the limit point analysis method. The limit point is the point at which the right and left-hand sides of the bend meet. This point will be the most distant point of the bend you can see. (see the photo below).

Cornering Limit Point

To use this technique as you approach the bend be sure that, if needed, you could stop before you reached the limit point.

Then ask yourself is the limit point getting further away? If it is and you can see further ahead then your speed is fine.

If it is getting closer you should continue to reduce your speed until the limit point begins to move with you and your view opens up again.

Next - Driving on Rural Roads