Are we still using turn signals? It is a question I ask myself often when I run into a situation where one is needed. So many times I come up to a 4-way stop intersection only to wonder what the other people are truly doing. Are they going straight through the intersection? Turning left? Right? Unfortunately, sometimes you just don't know until they go. Now I try to be very judicial in using my turn signals, but I also know that I may forget now and then or not quite use it in the proper place. I believe that a lot of us forget the basics when it comes to how, why, and when to use them.
According to SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers), 2 million accidents a year are caused by failure to use a turn signal. Meanwhile, distracted driving accounts for right around 1 million accidents a year. Now, I hate distracted driving and I see it way too much, but that is kind of staggering that a common safety feature that we are all taught to use is still causing 2 million accidents a year! These numbers have probably gone up since the study for both turn signal usage and distracted driving were done a few years ago. Another SAE report followed 12,000 cars and noted that 48% of them didn't use a signal for lane changing, and about 25% of them didn't use a signal when making a turn. Let's get all of that bad news out of the way. Let's get back to the basics and follow some of these simple rules...
Signal early and throughout your turn. Use your turn signal when changing lanes. Try to allow other cars around you to see your turn signal for a second or two before making the said lane change. Use turn signals in parking lots to give other drivers an idea of where you are going. Make sure that your turn signal is off after making a lane change or turn so as not to confuse other drivers around you. But, the biggest one of all, and yes it is kind of contradictory, but don't trust anybody's turn signal. Remember, it is a gesture, warning, or idea that they or you may turn. It is not an absolute.
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