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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Maybe the police should be pulling over drivers that don't indicate, instead of just ignoring it...a good way to fill the depleating bank account and make some revenue. While my stay in the USA recently...the number of drivers that did not indicate are so much higher than this report stated. Have you been out there. The police may as well snap off the indicators of most cars in the USA when they finaly get pulled over...if they get pulled over.
On the brighter side, I did notice that in Washington State and Oregon, they are actually great in using their indicators...loved it. I knew what most drivers were doing. The ones that did not use indicators...were out of staters...FIGURES. So thank you Washington and Oregon for your great drivers.
Another great way to save lives is to introduce mobile speed cameras as we have here in Australia. At the rate Americans speed...the bank should be full with weeks. A great way of reducing the road toll of speed related accidents too. They have made such a huge impact here in Australia. Why are American so slow to pick up all the great things Australians are doing to preserve life? Maybe a government plot to reduce the population??????
Oh and to those that are telling me where to go right now...that shows to me that you are ones guilty of these crimes. Do the crime...do the time. If I get pulled over...my bad and I have to pay the fine imposed for my negligence.
That is why I stay vigilent to the road laws. It makes it safer for everyone on the roads and particularly now as there are so many more drivers on the roads...let's make it back to our loved ones for Christmas and enjoy the festive season anad commemorate the reason we have Christmas.
Merry Christmas all
I think the biggest problem is that young and not so young drivers now days think that their car is an extension of their living room. Nice comfortable seat, stereo blasting, texting and just not paying attention to the road.
Ever notice that when there is a cop present at an intersection, that everybody remembers to use their turn signal !
Signaling is to be the FIRST thing you do.
before you slow ,
before you change lanes,
before you turn.
98 % are already commiting the act when the emergence of a signal makes everyone around them say ''well no duh dude.''
signal BEFORE you act.
signal to tel what you're GOING to do...NOT what you're already doing.
I’m middle class and live in an upper class area…..and it seems to me the more your vehicle cost the less likely you are to use things like turn signals or rear and side view mirrors. If I had a dollar for every rich a*# that almost hit me or tried to enter my lane with me in the way…I would have a BMW too!!!!!
Not using a turn signal is completely inconsiderate, but what do you do when it's a police car in front of you.?
I was driving in town a couple of days ago and up ahead, the traffic light was turning red. So all of us stopped. The light turns green and the police car, at the front of the line, just sat there. When oncoming traffic went by, the police car completed his left turn.. No turn signals, no emergency, no hurry to get anywhere, just sat there holding up traffic until it was clear to make the turn. No way to get around the police car, either! No one blew their horn - most likely get a ticket for that!
Too bad he didn't think to set a good example for the rest of us!
I agree with most everyones comments. What really gets me mad, and it doesn't happen as much as the turn signal thing, but when someomes driving with 2 feet!!! And you know they are becuase their brake light is always on! SO HOW THE F#$% AM I SUPPOSED TO KNOW WHEN YOU ACTUALLY PRESSING THE BRAKE, WHEN YOUR BRAKE LIGHT, what I the person behind you can only see, IS ALWAYS ON! For those of you who drive like that, and don't think your brake light is on.....IT IS!!! All you have to do is barely touch the brake pedal and you light goes on. So while your resting your left foot on the brake pedal while your accellerating with the right foot, your brake light is on duh!!!
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