Tactical Driving: J-Turn - ITS Tactical
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Tactical Driving: J-Turn

By The ITS Crew

jturnIn Tactical Driving the ability to perform a quick, calculated turn is an important skill, but what about while your vehicle is in reverse? Enter the J-Turn… This little maneuver can be traced back to the prohibition days when bootleggers called it the moonshiner’s turn. Can you picture those old cars performing a J-Turn? It must have been quite a sight!

While the terminology is somewhat confusing, the bootlegger’s turn is a different maneuver that is performed while the car is facing forward, the J-Turn is done while in reverse. We’ll be covering the bootlegger’s turn in a future article.

The J-turn’s end product is your vehicle maintaining its course, but turning 180 degrees in seconds. You’ll end up pointing forward without loosing too much of the vehicle’s momentum. It’s important to know how your vehicle operates, and its limitations… please refer to our introductory article on Tactical Driving.

Let’s go over the steps to complete a successful J-Turn

Automatic Transmission

  1. Start with the vehicle in reverse and remember “when you reverse, things come from behind you
  2. Make sure you have plenty of room on both sides of the vehicle, from your starting position, to where you want to end up
  3. Accelerate the vehicle to a speed of 30-35 mph and don’t let off of the gas
  4. Position your hands at the 2 o’clock and 8 o’clock position on the steering wheel
  5. In one quick motion come off of the gas and turn your steering wheel counter-clockwise at least 1/2 of a turn (more is better)
  6. This will turn the vehicle very sharply to the driver’s right
  7. While the vehicle is almost through the 180 degree turn, use another quick movement in the opposite direction of the turn to bring the vehicle’s wheels back in line
  8. Quickly put the car into drive and accelerate

If you don’t maintain the required speed, or turn the steering wheel sharply enough, the vehicle won’t complete the turn.

Manual Transmission

The directions are exactly the same as above, but while selecting first gear to make your getaway, you’ll need to double clutch

  1. Press the clutch in
  2. Shift to neutral
  3. Clutch out
  4. Clutch in and shift into first

This adds more of a challenge to the maneuver, but if you practice the double clutch it can be done easily

Here’s a YouTube video we put together showing the J-Turn

Check out our YouTube channel for additional instructional videos on the J-Turn

Hit us up with any questions you have in the comments, and stay tuned for more Tactical Driving articles!

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