5/30/2012 2:51 PM ET|
Lost art of the turn signal
Some of us don't bother to signal; others let the light keep blinking. And those habits could reduce or eliminate what insurance covers in an accident.
The next time you are driving, count how many times your fellow drivers fail to use their turn signals. Chances are you will run out of fingers and toes before the engine is warm.
Nearly half of all drivers either don't signal to change lanes or fail to turn the indicator off if they do, according to a newly released report from the Society of Automotive Engineers. Researchers observed 12,000 cars and found a failure rate on lane changes of 48%. One driver in four failed to use a signal to make a turn, the report says.
Those findings back up a 2006 survey conducted by Response Insurance in which 57% of American drivers admitted not using turn signals when changing lanes. Among drivers ages 18 to 24, 71% said they don't use their signals.
Even more disturbing than the statistics were the reasons. Forty-two percent of the signal-avoiders said they didn't have time; 23% admitted they were just too lazy.
Perhaps the rest ran out of blinker fluid. But that momentary lapse comes back to haunt many drivers.
"All drivers have an ongoing duty" to use signals, says SAE report author Richard Ponziani, "just as they have a duty to stop at a stop sign or at a red light."
While failure to signal may seem like a small infraction, improper turning and lane changing (the most frequent infractions associated with failure to signal) cause a lot of car accidents. In New York's most recent tally of accidents, unsafe lane changes were the fifth-most-common cause of accidents, and turning improperly was No. 7.
Nationwide, neglected or improper turn signals cause 2 million car accidents a year, Ponziani says. And for drivers involved in those accidents, a citation for failure to use turn signals could make the difference between a covered repair and a denied claim.
What is the law?
All states require drivers to use directional signals to indicate their intention to turn, change lanes or pass a vehicle.
The details differ, but the goal is the same: No surprises. Indicators make your fellow drivers aware of your intentions and give them enough time to adapt or respond. While the penalty varies by state, failure to signal is usually a minor traffic violation.
According to Penny Gusner, the consumer analyst at CarInsurance.com, a failure-to-signal citation could affect your insurance in several ways.
Many states do not allow insurers to raise rates for just one ticket, but a failure-to-signal citation could cost you a good-driver discount. That could bump up your premiums by as much as 25%, Gusner says. If your state does allow insurers to ding you for a single moving violation, look for a rate increase in the 5% to 20% range.
But the real cost comes if you're involved in an accident. Comparative negligence laws allow insurance companies to reduce claims proportional to degree of fault, Gusner says. If failing to signal puts you more than 50% at fault for the accident, your claim can be adjusted downward or denied altogether, Gusner says.
And contributory negligence states -- Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina and the District of Columbia -- prohibit a driver from recovering any damages if found even a small amount at fault for the accident.
Failure to signal would certainly qualify.
More from CarInsurance.com:
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
there is only ONE reason - the driving habits of people reflect the " IM THE ONLY ONE ON THE PLANET MENTALITY" that has taken over our society.
On the rare occasion that I get the chance, my comment, to those that don't use turn signals:
Me: "Your turn signal is broken."
Them: "No, it isn't."
Me: "It must be. I'd hate to think that you are one of those selfish inconsiderate ****s that is too lazy to flip a switch."
It seems to be indicative of the decline of attention to simple details of civilized life that has overtaken the U.S.A.
People dress sloppier than ever, and not just those Wal-Mart patrons that others joke about; spelling on internet posts is atrocious; clerks at stores do not count change or even say thank you; and talk show hosts on television interrupt and shout.
People are just not as polite as they once were, and it is everywhere.
The average American today is a C student in public school (read stupid and lazy).
The turn signal usage or lack thereof is a minor offence that is part of the daily driving habits of the millions of pinheads that clog the roads.
Failure to maintain distance eliminates the opportunity for others to change lanes causing traffic jams. Waiting for the last minute to cross three lanes of traffic to make an exit causes traffic jams and accidents. Weaving through traffic like a Wildman only to be one car ahead at the next light is hazardous and stupid. The list goes on.
I know there are many that would read this and think, “yeah but I am an excellent driver and can pull that off with no problem”. To those I would ask, what was your GPA at the public school you attended?
But...It's so hard to remember to use that little lever on the left side of the steering column when you're,
2) On the phone and really not paying attention to what you're doing,
3) Reading the paper or some other periodical,
5) Drinking a beverage,
6) Putting on makeup,
or the myriad of other activities that inattententive/inexperienced/rude drivers do...
This is one of my biggest pet peeves when I'm driving, I always use my directionals and that's the way I learned to drive, I honestly don't know how some of the people on the road today ever got their DL's, if in fact they actually have one...
Some people are too lazy to signal but seem to have pleanty of time to text and talk on there phones while cutting me off in traffic.Its just getting worse with our younger generation.Sometimes
I wish I did'nt have to drive on our freeways...too risky.
Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.
Redrawn lines between full- and part-timers at Sodexo decide who is eligible for coverage.
MUST-SEE ON MSN
- Video: Easy DIY smoked meats at home
A charcuterie master shares his process for cold-smoking meat at home.
- Jetpacks about to go mainstream
- Weird things covered by home insurance
- Bing: 70 percent of adults report 'digital eye strain'