The turn signals on your car are an essential safety device that allows you to communicate your intentions to other drivers. An increasing number of people are failing to use their indicators, and this is causing a growing number of accidents.
Using your turn signals is not only the safe thing to do, but it’s also legally required. The law also specifies the distance before your intended maneuver that you must activate them. Knowing the right way to use turn signals need not be a burden; using them should be an automatic habit, so you don’t even have to think about it when you are driving.
How to Use Turn Signals
The turn signals on most vehicles are located on a short lever attached to the side of the steering wheel column. By pulling the lever down, you activate the signals on the right side of the car to indicate a right-hand turn. By pushing the lever up, you activate the signals on the left side of the vehicle for a left-hand turn. Brake lights come on automatically when you step on the brakes.
The Right Times to Use Turn Signals
Use your turn signals or a hand signal when doing any of the following:
Making a left or right-hand turn at an intersection
Entering a driveway or parking lot on either side of the road
Parking on the side of the street
Pulling over to the side of the road
Passing another vehicle on the road
Merging with traffic when entering a roadway
When leaving a roundabout
Even if there is no other vehicles or pedestrians in the area, you should use your turn signals. There may be traffic you cannot see, and using them should be a habit in every situation.
When to Turn On Your Turn Signals
When you turn left or right at an intersection, you should be in the lane closest to the direction you are turning in. Put your turn signal on approximately 100 feet before you reach the intersection. When driving on the highway and indicating an exit, lane change, or overtake, start your indicator lights approximately 900 feet before you make the change.
Using Hand Signals for Turning and Stopping
You only need to use hand signals to indicate a turn or stop if the signal lights or brake lights on your car are not working, or if for some other reason another driver or pedestrian may not be able to see your turn signals or brake lights.
To make a hand signal, roll down your driver side window and extend your arm outside the car.
When turning left, extend your arm straight outwards.
When turning right, bend your arm at the elbow with your hand pointing upward.
To indicate a stop, bend your arm at the elbow with your hand and forearm pointing toward the ground, and your palm open and facing backward.
By using turn signals or hand signals, you will reduce your chances of traffic collisions and traffic tickets, and ensure the safety of all road users.