I have alluded to this issue at various times throughout previous posts, but I suppose it’s time to address the issue directly.
Signalling is very super duper important. It is an effective way to communicate with vehicles around you, and you should be communicating. Whether it is your turn signals, flashing your high beams, or an *appropriate* hand gesture, communication is integral to a conducive driving environment.
As I have said before, driving is a group activity. A group cannot function if there is no communication within the group. Fact of life.
Now, it may seem obvious what I am about to explain, but I’m sure you all have seen these atrocities occur over and over again.
- When changing lanes: It is important to signal when changing lanes. Not only to avoid an unnecessary police pursuit, but also to make sure you don’t die or kill someone else while trying to get into another lane. Try to signal at least 3 or 4 second before you actually change lanes so that the people around you have time to notice your desire and react accordingly.
What happens if you don’t signal: Someone else may try to go into the same lane that you want to go into, but since you didn’t signal, they have no idea, and there could be a collision; you are ticketed; you piss everyone off and look like a douche.
- When making a turn: This really should be the most obvious, but where problems occur here tend to be in timing. When do you start signalling? If there are a lot of entryways/driveways/streets before where you actually want to turn, begin signalling after you have passed the entryway/driveway/street that immediately precedes your turn. That way, there won’t be any confusion for the people trying to turn out of the entryways/driveways/streets you are passing. At a stop sign, it is essential to signal to tell everyone else at the intersection where you want to go so that they can plan their maneuvers accordingly.
What happens if you don’t signal or signal too early: Someone trying to turn out of where you’re turning into could lose an opportunity to pull onto the road; if signalling too early, the people making an exit may think you’re turning into their exit point and pull onto the road in front of you; at a stop sign, you just piss people off by either running into them when they make a maneuver that they think is safe because they are under the assumption that you are not turning, or they lose their turn to go because they were waiting for you to do something that you weren’t actually intending to do. It also confuses the people driving behind you when you randomly decide to slow down and don’t signal that you are intending to make a turn.
- Don’t forget to turn off your turn signal: If you leave your turn signal on after you performed the intended maneuver, you can cause all kinds of confusion and frustration to the drivers around you. The problems in #2 apply to this. Also, if you leave the signal on while on the highway, you’re confusing everyone around you when they create a gap for you to get over (because that is what you are telling you want to do) and you do not take advantage of it. You will also be laughed by everyone around you once they’ve noticed you left it on.
- While at a stop sign: I would suggest you just follow the first come, first move rule, but if you are lost or for some other reason unable to move come your turn, or you arrived at the same time and you want to be nice and let the other person go first (and they are directly across from you), go ahead and flash the high beams. You may also use a wave to signal to people that they may go before you.
- Pedestrians: If you are stuck awkwardly staring at a pedestrian waiting for them to grow a pair and cross the road, go ahead and wave them on to let them know you will not run them over despite the fact that you have already come to a complete stop. Flashing your high beams can also work if you are far enough away from the crosswalk.
- When you see another MINI: Here is where I reveal that I drive a MINI. If you see another MINI driver, flash your high beams or wave. It is a sign of community to greet a fellow MINI driver… and if you don’t flash back or wave, you make the other driver really depressed.
- When you have passed a cop: I never pick up on this hint, but flashing high beams can also serve as a warning to other driver that there are police in the area and to slow down. However this had been made “illegal” in some areas, so be careful.
- On the highway: Flash your high beams to signal to a vehicle ahead of you that they can go ahead and make their intended maneuver. If you have created a gap but the people are hesitant, let them know you are being nice by flashing your high beams, signalling that they are safe to go.