This is question on transportation terminology: How to call a road, typically a minor road, branching off the main road, to lead somewhere else. That is the road leading off the T junction .

I can use "turn". But in my experience, the turn usually means and action of turning, turning the steer wheel; or a shape of a road, like hairpin bend, because one has to do a lot of turning; I m not sure if it can be applied to the road.

Examples where "turn" or "turning" can be used (I think):
"Sorry guys, we are late because we missed the turning you recommended."
"Don't miss the turn, it's just behind petrol station but it's badly marked."
"After the petrol station, take the second turn; there are no sing posts, you have to count them."

In this case using "turn" can be misleading:
"I nearly missed the turn leading to the French Sector where we hired our car".
Wouldn't listeners though that I nearly missed a road bend, that is I nearly drove off the road?

Example where "turn" cannot be used (I think):
"The turn is just a gravel country road, don't miss it." Here specifically the off-leading-road is referenced as being a gravel one.

I some situation I can use T junction, but sometimes I want to reference just the road leading off, not the intersection bit. See in this example:
"The T junction is just a gravel country road, don't miss it."
The junction here, the actual intersection, indeed is not made of gravel; it's a proper tarmac road, only that "new", inferior road, leading away from that intersection is made of gravel.

There is a snappy Czech term I'm looking to translate: "odbočka"; roughly translated as the away-road.

Fixed turn -> turning as pointed out in the comments.

  • 1
    In British English we would say 'we missed the turning'.
    – Kate Bunting
    Commented Aug 12, 2019 at 8:25
  • 1
    Kate Bunting is right. We talk about "missing a turning". There is the distinction between what is said in giving directions and and what is true of the road layout. For example, the right or left turning off a 'T junction' will usually be the more major road. A cross road, may be the crossing of two major roads. But when you give directions you you use the imperative "turn left". But what the driver will have missed is usually called the 'turning', though we should understand the word 'turn'.
    – Tuffy
    Commented Aug 12, 2019 at 16:03
  • Kate & Tuffy - you are right, I recognize it myself, thank you. I am going to fix it in the post so it does not mislead potential readers.
    – Flavius Iulianus
    Commented Sep 7, 2019 at 19:01
  • “What to call”, not how. English 101.
    – David
    Commented Sep 7, 2019 at 19:36
  • 3
    Note that saying "missing a turning" would garner strange looks in the US.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Sep 7, 2019 at 21:26

2 Answers 2


One word I've used, besides turn, is turn-off. A turn-off is a road that leads off of the main road, either at a fork, a highway exit, or another junction. Cambridge Dictionary:

a road that leaves another road to go in a different direction:

It's four kilometres to the turn-off for Norwich/the Norwich turn-off.

So you could describe the turn-off as "gravelly" and have it make sense.

Rather like turn, this usage is related to a verb, turn off, the action of turning off of a main road.

to leave the road you are travelling on and travel along another one:

Turn off the motorway at the next exit.

  • 1
    Except that any more folks might find "turn-off" to be a turn-off.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Sep 8, 2019 at 0:55

side road

a smaller road off a main road

-Merriam Webster

Sometimes side roads are not marked, or designated on a map. Often they are unimproved, or at least not paved. They may have gravel, but in many countries they are just "dirt roads".

  • This answer was from the Q, just researched. It is possible there may be other suggestions, depending on geography and region. Commented Aug 11, 2019 at 20:21
  • I have a feeling that "side road" might also apply to a road leading alongside the main road, not necessarily splitting off the main road and potentially confuse listeners.
    – Flavius Iulianus
    Commented Sep 7, 2019 at 19:05
  • 2
    That is usually referred to as access road, service road, or frontage road, depending on the geography. Commented Sep 7, 2019 at 19:19
  • Sorry @FlaviusIulianus I forgot to include link on the last comment. If there is any doubt about what to call the parallel roads, see this question and answer from a few months ago You seem to be inclined towards BrE. Amercans would rarely say " a turning". Commented Sep 8, 2019 at 1:21

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