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Are Turn Signals Really That Important?

By Edited Mar 28, 2016 1 0

That little lever conveniently next to your hand.

Is it really that hard?


If I recall, one of the first things I remember in Driver's Ed was using your turn signal. In fact, it is one of the first things parents usually drill into their children's heads as they teach them safety when operating a vehicle. Why is it then, that the number of people who ignore the convenient lever right next to where your hand (should) be resting, is so excessively high?

How bad are the statistics for turn signal usage? Well, let's first look at changing lanes. Only 48% of people use their signal.[2] Unfortunately, that percentage is even greater in the age group of 18-24, which is a a whopping 71% .[4]  Think that's bad? What would you guess the percentage is for general turning? 50%? 40%? 30%? It is 25%.  That means 750 billion times a year people don't use their turn signal. [1]

As a result, the accident numbers are strikingly high. Not using turn signals properly accounts for 2 million car accidents a year. This is compared to a measly 950,000 for distracted driving, such as texting and putting on makeup.[3] So it seems 1 in every 5 car crash is from not using...turn signals. 


Even more disappointing is the reason for not using turn signals.  The two most cited reasons for not using turn signals are: 1. I don't have enough time. 2. I am too lazy.[4] Obviously, the attitude on turn signals needs to change. Perhaps some blame can be the enforcement of the law. Many officers use this as an excuse to pull over a suspicious vehicle rather than for the actually law infraction. Maybe raising the number of citations of misusing turn signals would make this a bigger topic in the public.


After reading these statistics (on top of not ever wanting to be on the road again) I am left wondering- Why are there so many ads featuring distracted driving but not about using turn signals? The latter is clearly the more dangerous subject.





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  1. Jason Farmer "Turn Signal Neglect A Continuing Problem In The US ." RedOrbit. 27/03/2014 <Web >
  2. Jim Melwert "New Study Says Failure To Use Turn Signals Is A Leading Cause Of Car Accidents." CBS Philly. 27/03/2014 <Web >
  3. Richard Read "Is Forgetting To Signal As Dangerous As Texting & Driving?." The Car Connection. 27/03/2014 <Web >
  4. carinsurance.com "Half of drivers don't use turn signals." NASDAQ. 27/03/2014 <Web >

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