Why people don't use turn signals

TornadoRed

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From the Detroit News

Please do fellow drivers a good turn and use blinkers
Ann Job

I have a fairly straightforward list of pet peeves about drivers today.

Tops are cell phone users behind the wheel, followed by left lane hogs and people who slam on their brakes when they think another vehicle might be getting too close behind them.

But lately, another issue has been rising to the top: American drivers who don't use their turn signals when changing lanes.

I see it every time now when I'm on a freeway. They just don't care

I thought I was just unlucky. But a survey of drivers conducted by auto insurer Response Insurance and released last week confirmed my observations.

In fact, the survey found that 57 percent just don't care to signal other drivers for lane changes.

The excuses they gave are astounding.

Forty-two percent of the non-signallers said they didn't have enough time to signal. This leaves me wondering just how much thought they put into changing lanes. It sounds like they go from one lane to another on a whim.

Another 23 percent admitted they don't use their blinkers because they're lazy! Hey, at least they're honest. But this doesn't make me feel any better driving alongside them. It would be better if they were simply too lazy to drive at all.

Seventeen percent said they eschew the turn signals because, well, when they put them on they often forget to turn them off. So, in their minds, it's better just to avoid the issue.

To this I wondered: If these people can't even figure out a car's blinkers, how are they coping with cell phones and computers? Never mind. I don't want to know.

What I'd really love to know is how these people got their driver's licenses.

Other excuses cited from the survey are just as silly.

For example, 11 percent of non-signallers said they don't think letting other drivers know about a lane change is important.

Eight percent sounded like immature kids, saying that they don't signal because they've seen other drivers not signal. I wonder if these folks would go off a cliff if they saw another driver do it. (I can only hope.)

But the most bizarre excuse has to be this one: Seven percent of drivers surveyed said they don't use their blinkers because it "adds excitement to driving."

This last group of drivers clearly has been watching too many X-Games on TV. They may want to imperil their own lives, but they have no business seeking thrills and excitement on the highways, where the rest of us count on some amount of driver sanity and etiquette.

And yes, this etiquette includes using those turn signals to tell the rest of us what lane they intend to occupy.

Ann Job is a California-based freelance writer and can be reached at annjo84@hotmail.com
http://www.detnews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060322/OPINION03/603220335/1149/AUTO01 .
 

whitedog

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Throw in a traffic circle and see how many people use thier signals.

She soured her message with me when she mentioned her top pet peeve. I have some political comments that I won't make regarding that.

So if you are in a turn only lane, are you supposed to use your turn signal?
 

berks_tom

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I always figured that using turn signals would slow down the inconsiderate drivers during the multi-lane changes.
 

TornadoRed

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the survey found that 57 percent just don't care to signal other drivers for lane changes.
The number is higher in SoCal. At least 70%.
 

karlaudi

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whitedog said:
So if you are in a turn only lane, are you supposed to use your turn signal?
In six out of the seven G7 nations - yes.

Few Americans would last a day in Berlin or Paris with their style of driving - or lack there of.

On Germany’s Autobahns or France's Autoroutes they would be easy pickings in the reckless driver category of traffic enforcement too.

40 hours of mandatory classroom instruction at a cost of about two to four thousand dollars to get a driver license coupled with a long probationary period make for very competent drivers in Western Europe most notably in Germany, Switzerland and France. Lose your license for bad and inept driving in Germany, Switzerland and France and you will pay a pretty penny to get it back.
 

Matthew_S

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The only good reason I can think of not to use your turn signal is because a lot of other drivers will speed up to prevent you from merging when they see you want to change lanes. There are few things that make me angrier than when people do that. However, I still use my turn signal because it’s the polite (and legal) thing to do.
 

Ed's TDI

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whitedog said:
Throw in a traffic circle and see how many people use thier signals.
I agree! People think the whole point behind a traffic circle is to try and merge in, without taking existing traffic into account. Never mind the fact that we have signs posted at every entry point that say "Yield to traffic in circle".

whitedoge said:
So if you are in a turn only lane, are you supposed to use your turn signal?
Yes because some people that are in turn-only lanes may not realize they are in one and may attempt to continue driving straight through. If they aren't signalling the turn, I'm able to take note of this and avoid a potential accident.

This has happened to me at an intersection near where I live that's recently been changed. It's a single lane road way that splits into 2 lanes at the intersection. It used to be 1 lane for through-traffic and right-turn traffic, and a seperate lane for left-turn traffic. Now it's changed to through-traffic and left-turn traffic in the left lane and right-turn traffic in the other lane. I don't know how many times people in the right-hand lane have driven straight through without regarding the directional signs at the intersection and nearly collided with the traffic that is in the correct lane! I almost got sideswiped by someone in my own building! When we arrived to our underground praking lot, this driver decided it would be a good thing to come and get in my face about the situation. By the end of the "discussion" I told the other driver that they had better go back and check the lane designation and we could finish the discussion afterwards. The other driver left a note on my windshield apologizing for their mistake and their behaviour. But that doesn't mean the problem has gotten any better, and the lack of signalling by some of the people in that lane that are making a right-hand turn doesn't help as it only adds to the problem when they're followed by someone that thinks they're in the correct lane to go straight.
 

Jimwsea

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And as for the rest that do use signals, the time from the first blink to the lane change gets shorter. Maybe 10-15 percent of perople around here are conscientious about giving useful notice before changing lanes.
 

cptmox

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The importance of turn signals are most obvious when traveling on a highway of more than 2 lanes in each direction.

When two cars are trying to change into the middle lane from the opposite outside lanes...ohhhhhhh have I seen some near misses and a couple "serves ya right" side swipes.
 

cptmox

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supton said:
My wife pointed out that "It gives away my next move" was left off the list.
Now that eludes to another pet peeve: When drivers see that you intend to merge into their lane, they will speed up to close the gap and restrict you from entering their lane.
 

billsbuddie

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It's much more important to look than to signal

I do use turn signals, but they pi** me off quite frequently. People think that once they signal it gives them the "right of way". I was taught to drive before electric signals were standard equipment. We were taught to look first, and to yield to ANYONE prior to changing lanes. When one follows this advice turn signals are not nearly as important.

As for her comment about those who step on their break to warn tailgaters she showed her true colors. We were taught to always give a space of 1 car length for each 10 miles an hour we were traveling. So, if you are going 60 you need to leave 6 car lengths between you and the car in front. The only problem with that, according to her, is that someone will probably change lanes in front of her. She doesn't have a problem with the use of turn signals she has a problem with lane changers, and she has a point.
 
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bhtooefr

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See, I *ALWAYS* at least try to give three blinks before changing lanes, and if I see someone changing lanes ahead of me, I'll slow down to let them in.

Now, here in Ohio, driving a 1.6NA, it's actually EXTREMELY DANGEROUS if I get blocked, because I can't accelerate quickly. In Ohio, semi trucks can only go 55, so if I get stuck behind one, I have to get from 55 to 65 quickly, so I have to plan the pass to get out of behind one way in advance, and in a matter of seconds, my plans are dashed and I have to do a 4th gear acceleration blowing smoke like crazy and holding up traffic.
 

Ed's TDI

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Well I just got home from work and lo and behold, I experienced one of those "too lazy to bother using the turn signal" type people. I was driving along the two-lane highway when she lane-changed in front of me - no signal. I slowed down in time to avoid any contact. I was then signalling for my upcoming turn off onto the exit and as we get to the exit, she again changes lanes - no signal. Of course this time I was already in the exit lane and my fornt bumper was nearly even with her rear bumper when she started easing over. So as we drive along, she slows down and comes to a near stop - again no signal. Apparently she's turning into a driveway and I'm supposed to know that because I know where she lives. So, I get out of the car and have a little chat with her:

Me: Hello
Her: (blank stare)
Me: I think there's something wrong with your turn signals on your car because you lane-changed twice without indicating and nearly hit me both times.
Her: (blank stare) My signal works fine.
Me: Really? Are you sure?
Her: Yes they work fine. What's your point?
Me: My point is that driving is hard enough without someone like yourself expecting every other driver out there to be able to read your mind and know what you're planning to do next. Try using the signals. They're a standard feature on even the most inexpensive-piece-of-crap car and they're there for a reason. It's just a form of driver courtesy, you should really give it a try.
Her: (blank stare) Whatever ....
Me: Yeah that's what I thought. It's amazing that people like yourself are even allowd to drive to begin with. You're an accident waiting to happen. Have a nice day!

At least now I know where one of "them" lives and can watch for her in the future!
 

Cincy_Mike

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I'm one of those who do not signal enough. My main reason was that, much of the time, it seemed doing so had no bearing on other drivers. For example, if the only other car on the highway is in front of you, it seems silly to signal your turn into the off-ramp.

Even if you have to turn right on a two-lane road, the person behind you has to watch you and see that you're slowing down. So my thinking went that it wasn't important to signal since they were watching your brake lights anyhow. (so my thinking went)

However, I have consciously forced myself to signal more for the sole hope to keep from getting into an accident. I still vividly remember a situation on a two-lane road where I wanted to get in the right lane. I didn't signal, but I looked and thought I was clear. A guy raced up into that spot with his little, fast car and surprised me. If I had signalled, he probably wouldn't have sped into the spot.
 

TornadoRed

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I am probably too obsessive on this. Signaling is so much a habit, that sometimes I realize that I've used the signals and there is not another car in sight.

And when I make a turn or change lanes, and I haven't signaled, I feel like I've forgotten something.
 

Jimwsea

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If your brake lights come on before your turn signal, what are you telling the person behind you? Some people come to a near stop before signalling. If the peron following has an idea whether you are adjusting your speed or actually coming to a stop for a turn, then they can plan ahead (go around or slow down also).

Lack of signalling and quick signalling lead to more stressful driving for everyone. We have enough stress in this country.
 

TornadoRed

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Ed's TDI said:
Me: My point is that driving is hard enough without someone like yourself expecting every other driver out there to be able to read your mind and know what you're planning to do next.
In fact reading other people's minds is what I do on the road, for about 8 hours a day. Maybe I don't know for sure that the guy slowing behind a big rig is going to change lanes. But it's a pretty safe bet, so I'll go ahead and move over a lane myself, to give him room. Or, in stop-and-go, if I want to change lanes I know that someone else is thinking the same thing.

Most of the time people will tend to do the same things; for instance, they will slow without signaling before turning at some office-park driveways. And they will always wait til the last quarter-mile before crossing several lanes to take an exit.

But, I know other people are not so prescient, don't anticipate what I'm going to do, and I plan for this as well.
 
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jrock

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If you see a blinker signaling at anytime in Texas it is probably a malfunction of the vehicle.
:(
 

whitedog

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jrock said:
If you see a blinker signaling at anytime in Texas it is probably a malfunction of the vehicle.
:(
Ford Pick-ups of a certain year range were notorious for them not canceling.
 

c5loadmaster

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karlaudi said:
In six out of the seven G7 nations - yes.

Few Americans would last a day in Berlin or Paris with their style of driving - or lack there of.

On Germany’s Autobahns or France's Autoroutes they would be easy pickings in the reckless driver category of traffic enforcement too.

40 hours of mandatory classroom instruction at a cost of about two to four thousand dollars to get a driver license coupled with a long probationary period make for very competent drivers in Western Europe most notably in Germany, Switzerland and France. Lose your license for bad and inept driving in Germany, Switzerland and France and you will pay a pretty penny to get it back.
Maybe what this country needs is a $3,000 drivers license fee. After many trips to Germany and driving the autobahn signaling is definately mandatory. Another no, no over there is passing on the right, I found out the wrong way and had a flashing blue light behind me. She let me off that time, but I learned my lesson. Imagine if you couldn't pass on the right on a 2 lane freeway in this country, WOW.

Robert
 

supton

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I'll be Germany doesn't have left lane bandits either.

Although, do they have left exits? When I feel like driving for economy, it always bothers me when I can't be in the rightmost lane, either because the lane is exit-only (and I'm not exiting) or because I have to exit left.
 

bhtooefr

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I always cruise in the right lane on a 4-lane highway, or the lane that is immediately to the left of the right lane on a 6 or greater lane highway.

See, I've never seen an exit-only lane on a 4-lane, but they're common on the wider highways. Therefore, I stay out of the exit-only lane.
 

SoaceMunky

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if turn signals are too complicated for some people, how do they manage to make it alive on a daily basis!?

personally, and from a personal safety point of view, i consider drivers around me to be on a mission to take me out. then its like a video game, where you have to go through a real-time changing maze, if you touch the walls, you die. i try to give people enough room so they cant run into me, while at the same time using their predictabe stupidity against them.

i find enough power in my stock tdi that i can drive in circles around most people in traffic, and avoid most predictable incidents with some foresight and caution. i think driving curteously and safely is priority #1, obeying the law is #2, and if anyone doesent see me, and decides to test laws of probability, they will be paying for it with insurance money...
 

gtveloce

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IMHO, there is something to do with how people put their hands on the steering wheel. Some people for whatever reason like to drive with only ONE hand on the 12 o'clock position (in an automatic!) It would be "too troublesome" (and actually dangerous) to take their only hand off the wheel and use the turn signal. :eek: :eek:

Regarding overtaking on the right - I only started doing that after I found out it's actually legal to overtake in the right lane in a traffic school :rolleyes:
(I try to keep that to a minimum though :p )
 

bhtooefr

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I avoid overtaking to the right at all costs, FWIW.

I drive at about 9:30 and 2:30. On a stick. Allows me to take one hand off to do something like shift, or turn on my *gasp* signal, or turn on the wipers, or turn on the defroster, etc., etc.
 

david_594

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bhtooefr said:
I avoid overtaking to the right at all costs, FWIW.

I drive at about 9:30 and 2:30. On a stick. Allows me to take one hand off to do something like shift, or turn on my *gasp* signal, or turn on the wipers, or turn on the defroster, etc., etc.
In a half running 1.6NA overtaking avoids you.:D
 

bhtooefr

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Hey, hey, hey, I have more than 26 horsepower! :p

And, I can still overtake, it just takes a while. :p

Go look in the stories not about filling up thread for my Honda kill with my WEAKENED 1.6NA :p
 

TornadoRed

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SoaceMunky said:
from a personal safety point of view, i consider drivers around me to be on a mission to take me out. then its like a video game, where you have to go through a real-time changing maze, if you touch the walls, you die. i try to give people enough room so they cant run into me, while at the same time using their predictabe stupidity against them.
That's EXACTLY the way I drive. Part of it I picked up when my only set of wheels was a motorcycle. But I still drive both offensively and defensively, trying to avoid situations where someone else's stupidity can hurt me.

[Today I was cruising down a 6-lane divided boulevard (Miramar Rd, near MCAS Miramar) when I noticed a problem with the stake truck in front of me. A pallet of 5-gallon pails of carpet adhesive had tipped over and was leaning against the tailgate -- and the tailgate was no longer hooked to the side panels! I could just imagine the tailgate giving way and having my entire car covered in adhesive. Needless to say, I got away from that disaster in-the-making.]

i find enough power in my stock tdi that i can drive in circles around most people in traffic, and avoid most predictable incidents with some foresight and caution. i think driving curteously and safely is priority #1, obeying the law is #2, and if anyone doesent see me, and decides to test laws of probability, they will be paying for it with insurance money...
Again in total agreement. Foresight and caution -- most drivers use one or the other, some use neither. Courtesy and safety a higher priority than obeying the letter of the law? Yes.

You're too young to know this much about driving. You must have had one hell of a teacher. Not just someone who said "You've got your license, now you're on your own."
 
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