Use Your Turn Signals, People!

By Jennifer Geiger  on May 3, 2012
Stop being lazy and start using your turn signal. That's the message of a new study that found that drivers who neglect to use turn signals cause more accidents than distracted drivers.

The Society of Automotive Engineers say that drivers who don't use their turn signals or fail to turn them off are a real problem and the result is about 2 million crashes each year, reports MSNBC. In contrast, the U.S. Department of Transportation reports that distracted driving causes around 950,000 accidents annually.

SAE and study partner RLP Engineering say their investigation is the first of its kind and yielded alarming results: Motorists don't signal when changing lanes or forget to turn off the signal 48% of the time. Although turn signals are easy to use and effective, some people don't signal out of choice, but Richard Ponziani, president of RLP Engineering thinks "all drivers have an ongoing duty to use it, just as they have a duty to stop at a stop sign or at a red light."

One possible solution, according to the study, is implementing a smart turn signal system that would automatically shut off a turn signal after a set delay time or after it senses that the lane change is complete. It also could act as a visual or auditory reminder for people who habitually neglect to use them.

The technology would be "the perfect complement to the stability control system since stability control predominately prevents single-vehicle crashes, whereas the smart turn signal prevents multivehicle crashes," Ponziani said in the report.

Tell us, do you signal before you turn, and if not, why?

Turn signal neglect a real danger, study shows (MSNBC)

In The News Safety

Assistant Managing Editor Jennifer Geiger is a reviewer, car-seat technician and mom of three. She wears a lot of hats, many of them while driving a minivan.  Email Jennifer