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.
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Stop trying to play another race card!!!!! The fact is that people do not use their turn signals because they just do not care about being considerate anymore. Ever sit and wait for a car to pass only to find them make a turn right in front of you without a signal????? Aggravating. This, not speed, should be the ticket of choice for the police on the prowl.
Maybe if they started making drivers education available in schools again...What ever happened to that anyway??? Maybe then, our youngest most inexperienced and most often distracted drivers would get a better start on how to drive correctly and with the knowledge of "HIGHWAY ETIQUETTE".....Seems that is a lost art now!!!
The most annoying driver to me is the one that wants to merge into my lane and I don't give them an opening. when they do in in my lane they are ticked off and let me know it. However, they didn't use their turn signal so I have no idea they want in my lane. I want to strangle them for being upset with me. I am a very courteous driver and always try to accomodate other drivers and hate when I am called out for being otherwise..when it's not my fault.
The other annoying driver is the one poking along in front of you and you have to be someplace and the driver is actually going slow because they are preparing to turn...WITHOUT A SIGNAL ON ! I could have easily gone around them had I known they were going to turn. Come on people..you are not the only freaking driver on the road. Get off your damn phone and watch what the he-- you are doing!
Overall my observation is that US drivers are either ignorant to driving etiquette and laws or just arrogant. I have driven in Canada and Europe and the use of signals and proper driving rules are the standard. If you do not use these rules, you may end up dead - or at least easy to single out as an American boob. Try staying in the left lane - holding up traffic on the A1 in Germany and see how long you are on the road. Most of the issue in this country is the total lack of self control people have at using phones, shavers, etc. while they are driving and I am serious. Take a look at the boob next to you once and you will be appalled at what they are doing. I watched a women apply make-up for about 15 minutes while weaving in and out of traffic. She eventually rear ended a car - kind of funny for me to see that, but I wonder how see explained that to the officer or her insurance agent. To that point with phones, if your cell phone is jammed into your left ear, how the hell are you going to signal a lane change? People of this country please go buy a hands-free blue tooth speaker or something like that (similar to Sync), you have to do nothing to make a call that distracts you from the road. Next Samsung will be making phones that have a 5-7 inch screen and the entire left side of your head will be blocked. Americans use no common sense, even when states ban the use or mandate a hand-free systems. Beside that, the distractions in the newer cars, which are absolutely ridiculous - car companies are following the trend to make US drivers worst, or dumbing the whole operation of the vehicle down for even more moronic drivers to take to the road (self parking cars and self braking - in case you are not watching the road as you try to catch the last few minutes of Good Morning America). I believe that most of the problem is with enforcement. Local and State Police enforcement in my state (and neighboring states) is pathetic. I see rampant speeding (75 in 55) constantly and by constantly I mean every day over the last years on the hour trip into work. No lane change signaling (or little), tailgating, etc. I even see or observe cars with no brake lights, one headlight, or no operating lights period; in addition to no license plates on the front of the cars - which is required by law. I feel like calling my local police establishments and complaining at least inquire to whether I am interpreting the law incorrect, because if these items are "legal" let me know - I can cut at least 15-20 minutes of my driving time. You would think these local and State level enforcement agencies would want the extra revenue, since they are all (or appear) to be broke and the laws are on the books to enforce. I guess the need to push back from the jelly doughnut or just say no.
DO YOUR JOBS and the roads will be safer.
I believe each state needs to enforce annual driving tests (along with car safety and emissions testing) to allow drivers to operate vehicle. This would get the aged blind folks off the road (it might also educate the ignorant to what proper road rules and etiquette are), and hey might put some money back into the local governments. Wow that would be something if people would just do what they are supposed to do.
BTW - I am an American, live in Middle America, drive properly with all my equipment is working order (although I may drive fast at times), but I guess speeding is ok, since no one is enforcing it.
BTW II - I let cars merge into traffic at a safe speed and do not speed up to prevent. Try this once and you may learn that the traffic jams that exist everyday on your way home will start to subside since the traffic is moving and no one is being an ****.
Driver courtesy is basically out the window these days , whether due to distracted driving , or just lazy and don't care . worse yet is the driver changing lanes who thinks turning on his signal gives him the right of way , which probably causes more use of the finger than any other action , as well as causing road rage incidents. Just my opinion , but if failure to signal was enforced and ticketed more often the actions and reactions would drop dramatically. How hard can it be to flip the signal when turning ,etc ? jmo
I've never seen it on the books, but somewhere, in some obscure set of state traffic laws, I'm sure it's been enacted.....There is an inverse relationship between the cost of a driver's vehicle and his or her responsbility to use the indicator lights. People owning expensive vehicles are also possessed of powerful projective ESP which enables other drivers around them to know exactly what their intent is and to proactively remove their vehicles from the lane the expensive vehicle driver plans to use. It is also written that lanes marked 'Exit Only' are in fact intended as merge lanes for expensive cars. When such a car enters this type of lane, no one should assume they are planning to exit. You should, instead, prepare to slow down as they have entered this lane with the sole intention of passing we peon drivers by and cutting us off in the through lanes we are obediently using.
After all, the only reason we are driving a Chevy or a Chrysler is because we are lazy, illiterate, and of no productive use to society. No doubt we will expect social security when we retire and medicare to keep us alive past our 'expiration dates.' All the more reason why we should part like the waters of the Red Sea so these oh-so-worthy expensive car drivers can blow past us. They have peons to squeeze and bleed so they can make the vast fortunes that will be added to by the conservatives so that they may grudgingly 'trickle down' on we oh-so-unworthies.
Yes, my friends, instead of decrying their behavior, we should embrace it. Just ask them.
Forgive the crudeness... Never mind the dots. It's the only way to get teh horizontal line to show up. Pretend you're looking forward at the operator's left arm sticking out of the window.
Left: __ _
Encourage those who flip on their signals: always let them in.
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