close up of someone clicking the turn signal on their car

On behalf of Law Offices of Mauro Fiore, Jr. posted in Car Accidents on Wednesday, January 16, 2019.

People often neglect to use their turn signals. Sometimes, they just forget. Other times, they ignore them on purpose because they don't see other traffic. Still other times, they know they should use them for actual turns but they don't use them for things like changing lanes.

Regardless, failure to use turn signals is very dangerous. Some reports claim that it leads to "millions of crashes per year and may be more dangerous than distracted driving."

One thing to keep in mind is that forgetting to use a signal often happens because of distracted driving. For instance, a driver is talking on a cellphone while driving. They have one hand on the wheel and the other on the phone. When it's time to turn, they do not have any way to use the signal without setting down the phone or letting go of the wheel entirely. They decide to simply not signal and make their turn.

Even a moment of confusion on the road can lead to an accident. Things happen very quickly at highway speeds. When a driver doesn't signal and just starts merging or turning, they could get hit by someone in their blind spot who has no idea that they're about to switch lanes or by a driver who is turning and thinks that the other car will carry on straight through the intersection. Remember, other drivers cannot know what you plan to do unless you tell them, so you must use your signal.

If someone else fails to use theirs and you get into an accident, make sure you know what legal options you have to seek compensation.

To avoid such as accident, here are a few tips:

  • Develop a habit of signaling every single time you change direction. Signal even when you do not see anyone else around. After all, it’s easy to miss someone who needs to know what you are doing.
  • Signal as early as you can. Try and signal at least three seconds before you make your move. You must signal at least 100 feet before a turn if the speed limit is 45 mph or less. If the speed limit is faster than 45 mph, you must signal at least 300 feet before you turn.
  • Be careful that you do not signal too early. If there are streets, driveways or entrances between you and where you want to turn, wait until you have passed them to signal.
  • If another vehicle is about to enter the street between you and where you plan to turn, wait until you have passed it to signal your turn. If you signal earlier, the other driver may think you plan to turn where that driver is and he or she might pull into your path.

In short, ALWAYS SIGNAL when you are going to:

  1. Change lanes.
  2. Make a turn.
  3. Pull away from a parking space which is parallel to the curb.
  4. Slow down or stop.

Updated June 23, 2020. According to La Feria News, these tips on using turn signals will surely aid you in driving safely and may even save your life.

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