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Don’t count on seeing a turn signal if the car in front of you wants to merge or turn. Nearly 2 million crashes a year result from failure to signal, and almost half of drivers don’t use turn signals all the time!

Men are less likely to signal than women, and young drivers are less likely to signal than older drivers, studies show.

Why is blinker use so low?

Turn signals are, perhaps, the least respected car safety feature. The last widely reported comprehensive study on blinkers was done 10 years ago by the Society of Automotive Engineers. Among 12,000 drivers who were either changing lanes or turning, the observational study found that 25% didn’t signal during a turn and 48% skipped it when changing lanes.

That’s concerning when you consider that blind spots are a problem for every vehicle on the road, particularly larger vehicles like SUVs and pickups with wide pillars. Signaling can save drivers from a crash, alerting fellow motorists of their intentions even if they don’t realize there’s another car nearby.

Drivers offered a variety of reasons why they don’t signal in a separate study reported in the Insurance Journal. They include:

  • Don’t have enough time
  • Too lazy
  • They’ll forget to turn it off
  • They change lanes too frequently to bother
  • It’s not important
  • Other drivers don’t
  • It adds excitement to driving.

Isn’t it the law to use your blinkers?

Yes! All states require signaling when changing lanes, turning or passing. In Washington and Oregon, you’re required to signal your intent at least 100 feet before changing lanes or turning.

Drivers who fail to signal can be ticketed and fined, even if the failure doesn’t result in an accident. Keep in mind that traffic citations may impact your insurance rates, especially if they’re combined with other infractions or an accident.

Want to know more about the traffic laws that help keep you and other drivers safe? Visit our Blog to see Road Rules 101.

NOTE: While we’re experts in loss prevention and home/auto safety, we don’t consider ourselves experts in traffic laws or their enforcement. Information shared here is for educational purposes only and is not legal advice. If you have legal concerns, we urge you to contact a law enforcement source or attorney in your community.

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