Based on my observations, while driving in and around Brandon, I felt this might be a good time for us all to be reminded of the proper use of direction signals on our vehicles.
First of all, the purpose of direction signals is one of safety; to let other drivers approaching your vehicle (either from in front, or from behind) know your intentions, in advance, when you want to make a turn from your current lane to another, or to make a left- or right- hand turn.
The intent is not to announce your arrival once you are in your new lane! (Look at me! Look at me! I have just arrived!) How often do you see a vehicle make a change from the main traffic lane into either a left- or right-hand turn lane, without using the direction signal? Then, once in the turning lane, with absolutely no other option other than to turn when oncoming traffic or a traffic signal allows it, they then turn on their direction signal. What is the point in signalling then? You have to make the turn!
This applies not just to drivers moving into a left- or right-hand turning lane, but when changing lanes in general. Allowing drivers approaching you from behind to prepare for your move into their lane could prevent an accident, or even permit them to be more courteous in slowing down to allow your lane change.
And for those of you who have absolutely no idea in this world just how you activate a turn signal, there is generally a small stalk (about the size of a pencil) attached to the left hand side of your steering column. To signal (in advance) your intent to turn right, you lift up on the stalk, and when you want to make a left turn, you press down on the stalk.
After the turn is completed, the signal usually cancels itself, but if it remains on, and an annoying flashing arrow on your instrument panel is still clicking and blinking, simply return the stalk to its neutral position so you don’t confuse other motorists into wondering just what the heck you are planning on doing.
Thank you for participating in your “Direction Signal 101” Course. No diploma, but you may prevent an accident or save a life. Perhaps your own!
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 28, 2012