Mr. Smith from Shoot ‘Em Up says it best:

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How to turn on the turn signal

Since it appears that a vast majority of drivers fail to use their turn signals, I figured I would take this time to help those drivers find the mechanism which turns the turn signal on and off.

The turn signal indicator stalk is always, and I mean ALWAYS, on the left side of the steering column, just behind the steering wheel.  This even holds true in right-hand drive cars! If you have more than one stick protruding from your steering column, the one that turns on your signal often has the controls for the windshield wiper on it as well. Just in case you are having difficulty locating the lever in your car, refer to the following pictures:

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How to use this excellent piece of engineering genius is very simple.  If you wish to go to the right, you simply push the stick upwards.  If you wish to go to the left, you simply push the stick downwards.  If you are having a hard time remembering which is which, just think of this neat little trick:  If you hold a finger out and turn the wheel to the right, your finger will hit the turn signal indicator from underneath, pushing it upwards.  Likewise, if you hold a finger out and turn the wheel to the left, your finger will hit the turn signal indicator from above, pushing it downwards.  You don’t even have to move it very far!  You only need to push the stalk up maybe an inch (possibly 2 at the most), which isn’t much trouble at all.

Turning off your signal, which is just as important, is done by returning the stalk to its original position.  Most cars automatically turn off the signal when you return the wheel to “straight” if you move the wheel far enough in the direction you have indicated you will turn.  However, when changing lanes, the signal does not automatically turn off, so it is your responsibility to return the stalk to where it started.

Lastly, the turn signal indicator is not very far away from your hands if you drive with a “9 and 3” hand position.  It is also not very far away in a “10 and 2” or an “8 and 4” hand position.  And, really, it’s not very difficult to reach even if you’re one of those idiots that drives with your wrist at the 12:00 position.  While the actual distance between the wheel and the far end of the turn signal indicator varies by make and model, it is usually within a finger’s length of the steering wheel (see below) so that you can keep your hand on the steering wheel at all times.

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If you are still having problems figuring out how to turn on your signals, go out to your car and play around until you have figured it out.  And once you know how to turn on your signals, APPLY THIS KNOWLEDGE IN REAL LIFE!

Make sure you look before backing up. Anywhere. Anytime.

So, yesterday I went to Einstein Bagels, looking to indulge in a delicious breakfast sandwich.  I was behind this god awful Camry with chrome 22’s and super low profile tires.  As we were moseying through the parking lot, the woman driving the Camry decided she wanted a parking space that happened to be behind her–where I was.  So, the woman proceeded to back up.  Quickly.  I honked my horn.  She did not brake.  I slammed the horn, for about 5 to 6 seconds, and about 6″ away from my car, she finally realized I was there and stopped.  How one doesn’t stop immediately at the sound of a car horn so close him/her is beyond me.  But the lesson learned from this is do not back up without looking behind you!  Better yet, don’t back up in areas where this can cause an accident, e.g., at a stop light.  If you’re too far out in the intersection, that’s just too damn bad.

This really should be common sense…

Here’s an idea

There should be a national mandate that the written driver’s test in every state must contain questions regarding vehicle maintenance.  Vehicle maintenance questions should comprise 15-20% of the test questions.  Part of road safety is driving a safe vehicle.  If someone has no idea how to tell if they need to change their brake pads, he or she may have significantly decreased their stopping power and therefore produced a much longer stopping distance for their car. This is obviously a danger to all the other drivers on the road.  If everyone had to know this kind of information in order to get their licenses, the dangers that unkempt cars cause could be greatly reduced (these dangers will be discussed in a future post).