Turn Signals, Try Using Them

Car Turn Signal
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Turn Signals, Try Using Them

**I know that Steven wrote a post about this, this was my take on this, written years ago, but never posted online.

One thing I notice on the roads today is the complete lack of use of the automobile turn signal. First, let me digress. The turn signal was first introduced to the automobile industry in the early 1900s and has been standard on all American automobiles as long as many of us on the road today have been driving.

So, why don’t more drivers on today’s roads use their directional signals?

I will be the first to admit that I do not use my signals 100% of the time, I forget about 2-3%, but overall, I average very well.

One thing I have noticed is that some people use them too little while some people actually use them too much. Huh, what do I mean by that?

Using them too little is simple enough. There are many drivers on the roads who do not use their signals at all, and then there are those who drive all day long with their left signals on. While doing research for this story, I ran across a website in which the author has the same feelings toward turn signal usage as I do. From that article, here is a list of 15 signal problems.

  1. Signal only when you feel like it
  2. If you feel you must use your directionals, make sure they blink only once and then turn them off
  3. Signal only after you change lanes
  4. When driving straight, make sure that at least one directional is blinking at all times
  5. Signal as you approach a curve in the road
  6. If you intend to make a right turn, use the left signal
  7. If you intend to make a left turn, use the right signal
  8. When approaching an intersection, signal to turn and slow down. When other drivers or pedestrians cross in front of you, turn off the signal and go straight
  9. When you intend to make a turn, start signaling approximately 6-8 blocks before you turn. Slow down for each block as you approach them
  10. Always apply your brakes before you signal
  11. When making a left turn at a busy red light, wait for the light to turn green before you turn on your signal
  12. Wait until after you have started to turn or change lanes to use your signals
  13. Wait until you have started to turn or change lanes to use your signals
  14. After you change lanes, make sure that you leave the signal on for several more miles
  15. Make sure that you change lanes (in front of another driver) and hit your brakes to slow down
    Some items courtesy of http://members.aol.com/doggiesnot/mordir.htm (Wayback engine)

So let us all make a conscious effort to properly use our turn signals, it really lets the drivers around you know what your intentions are. The rules are rather simple when using them.

  • Turn them on to indicate the intended direction of movement
  • Do not leave them on for extended periods and use them when you are changing lanes on the highways
  • When you plan to make a turn or to enter or exit a highway, first give the proper turn signal, which is required by law
  • If the speed limit is more than 35 MPH, the signal is at least 100 feet before you reach the turning point
  • For speeds less than 35 MPH, signal at least 50 feet in advance
  • Did you know that in Virginia it is a four-point violation for improper usage of directional signals
  • Develop a good habit and using turn signals or hand signals even if no other traffic is on the road. Signal when making turns, changing lanes, entering or exiting highways, and always let the other driver know what you intend to do
  • Signal three or four seconds before you change direction so other drivers will have time to react. If you plan to turn after clearing an intersection, don’t signal until you reach the intersection; otherwise, drivers on the road ahead may pull out in front of you. After you complete your move, be sure the turn signal stops flashing
  • Remember, always signal before changing lanes.

In the words of the Hill Street Blues “Let’s be careful out there!”

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