According to a 2012 report by the Society of Safety Engineers (SAE), drivers neglect to use their turn signals 25% of the time when making turns and 48% when changing lanes.
When calculated with the number of cars on our roads every day, there is a turn signal fail-rate for all drivers that adds up to 2 billion times a day — that’s 750 billion times a year. The study estimates that about 1 – 2 million auto accidents could be prevented each year if drivers properly used turn signals. This is a staggering number of auto accidents caused by careless drivers who fail to exercise even the most basic of safety practices – turn signals.
Why don’t drivers use their turn signals?
A survey conducted in 2006 by Response Insurance reveals that 57% of drivers surveyed admitted they don’t use their turn signals. Here are some reasons given for not using turn signals:
- 42% of drivers surveyed said they don’t have enough time
- 23% admit they’re just plain lazy
- 17% said they don’t use signal because when they do, they forget to turn them off
- 12% said they change lanes too frequently to bother
- 11% said it’s not important
- 8% said they don’t signal because other drivers don’t
- 7% said that not signaling adds excitement to driving
What is the law in Florida regarding the use of turn signals?
In general, the purpose of turn signals is to let other drivers and pedestrians know what a driver is going to do, and give enough time to adapt or respond. The failure to use turn signals can at the least result in a non-criminal traffic citation, and at worst result in a car accident. Generally, the driver who fails to properly signal may be held liable for causing the accident, and subject to be sued for any resulting property damage and personal injuries caused.
Florida Statute Section 316.155:
(1) No person may turn a vehicle from a direct course or move right or left upon a highway unless and until such movement can be made with reasonable safety, and then only after giving an appropriate signal in the manner hereinafter provided.
(2) A signal of intention to turn right or left must be given continuously during not less than the last 100 feet traveled by the vehicle before turning, except that such a signal by hand or arm need not be given continuously by a bicyclist if the hand is needed in the control or operation of the bicycle.
(3) No person may stop or suddenly decrease the speed of a vehicle without first giving an appropriate signal in the manner provided herein to the driver of any vehicle immediately to the rear.
(4) Turn signals shall be used to indicate an intention to turn, to overtake, or to pass a vehicle and may not be flashed on one side only on a parked or disabled vehicle or flashed as a courtesy or “do pass” signal to operators of other vehicles approaching from the rear.
General safety guidelines for using turn signals:
- Use a turn signal every time: Make signaling a habit, it’s as easy as flipping a lever. Remember, the purpose of turn signals is to let other drivers and pedestrians know what a driver is going to do, and give enough time to adapt or respond. If you don’t see any other cars or pedestrians, it might be because they’re not there, but it might be that you don’t see them (i.e. blind spot) and your turn signal needs to alert them to prevent an accident.
- Signal before changing lanes: Drivers should signal before changing lanes, not after, and not while straddling the line between the lanes. The purpose of the turn signal is to let everyone know what the driver is going to do before the driver does it.
- Signal before turning: Florida law is not less than 100 feet before turning.
- Signal before braking: Drivers should always use the turn signal before applying the brakes, to let other drivers know why you are slowing.
Be a Thinker and Use your Blinker
All drivers have an ongoing duty to use turn signals, just as they have a duty to stop at a stop sign or at a red light. If you have been injured in an auto accident when the at-fault driver failed to use turn signals, call 1-813-915-1110 to speak with attorney Mike Hancock about your medical bills and lost wages. Our phones are answered 24/7. Or email.