Signal in the City: Benefits and Consequences of Using Turn Signals

According to the Society of Automotive Engineers, the improper use of turn signals causes more accidents than texting. A 2012 field study found that blinker neglect is responsible for almost double the number of accidents as driving while texting. The study calculated that nearly 2,000,000 accidents per year are caused by the direct result of drivers failing to use their turn signals; texting accidents result in approximately 1,000,000 collisions.

After the dozens of billboards and the aggressive “Texting and Driving—It Can Wait” campaign, you should definitely know better than to “LOL” and “ <3 … =) … BRT” while driving. However, how often do you “forget” to switch on your blinker while changing lanes? Do you always turn on your signal when turning a corner? How many times have you had to slam on your brakes because the car ahead of you turned without warning?

Using your turn signal isn’t only helpful for drivers to predict your movements, but it’s also the law. Think about this the next time you decide to turn without warning or slam into the back end of a Hummer because he failed to signal that he was moving over.

Safety, Common Sense, and Legality of Blinker Use

Turn signal lights are standard on cars for a reason. Much like brakes and rearview mirrors, they’re meant to help prevent accidents. However, many drivers believe that using their blinkers is an option or a mere courtesy that should be done whenever they feel like it. These drivers are wrong!

When vehicles turn or merge without giving proper warning, cars around them have no way of knowing that they need to slow down, leave room, or stop to allow room. This is why turn signals are required by state law, in order to prevent such needless collisions.

Here are four reasons why Philly doesn’t consider turn signal use to be “optional:”

  • Pedestrian safety. Warning lights allow pedestrians to know that you’ll be turning. That lets them decide whether they have enough time to finish crossing the street, or whether they must keep from crossing in your blind spot. Without a warning they won’t know you’re turning and may walk out in front of you, causing you to smash straight into them.
  • Driver safety. Blinkers warn cars behind you of potential speed adjustments and movements. Drivers of other vehicles interpret your signals and slow down themselves. However, if you do not warn them, other drivers may hit the brakes too late and collide into your rear end instead of safely matching your speed.
  • Traffic control. When you’re changing lanes, the use of your turn signal can warn other motorists that you need space to get over. That way, they can adjust their speed in order to make room for you. When you deny them this warning, they can’t possibly know you want to come over, they won’t give you room, and if you move over without warning, you could cause them to swerve or collide into you or another motorist.
  • Rules of the road. It’s the law! Chapter 33 (subchapter C - section 3334) of the Pennsylvania vehicle code states that, “upon a roadway no person shall turn a vehicle, move from one traffic lane to another, or enter the traffic stream from a parked position unless giving the appropriate signal and the movement can be made with reasonable safety.” In other words, by law you’re required to use some sort of signal (either your blinker or a hand signal) in order to warn others of your intended action to turn or merge.

Where to Turn When Turn-Signal Neglect Causes Your Accident Injuries

Although in a perfect world all motorists would recognize the importance and obey every traffic law, our world is far from perfect. Even though you may strive to always use your signals, you can’t guarantee that the person in front of you has the same common sense. However, you can guarantee that if he causes an accident, we’ll be here to help you and your family.

If you or a loved one has recently been hurt in a traffic accident as a result of another driver carelessly using or neglecting to use a turn signal, don’t take the risk of being improperly compensated for your injuries. We know how coldhearted and arrogant insurance companies can be when they’re trying to keep you from your rightful settlement. Which is why we fight back. Call us today for a free consultation, and allow us to fight for you. You have enough to worry about, let us take charge to secure your family’s future. Call now!

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