If you’ve ever turned a corner without a signal only to be blasted by a honking horn – and maybe an obscene gesture from the driver behind you – you’ve set off a driver for whom not signaling is a pet peeve. That’s most drivers. When surveyed on their pet peeves, many drivers first mention others who don’t use turn signals when turning or making lane changes.
While signaling a lane change on a deserted stretch of highway at 3 a.m. may seem unnecessary, that’s a situation that few people find themselves in regularly. Most people drive where their actions on the road have a direct effect on the other drivers sharing that same stretch of highway as well as on pedestrians.
The safe, thoughtful driver always signals lane changes and builds that habit. When other drivers can predict your behavior, everyone on the road is safer.
Think before you signal: You’re planning to turn right into the bank that’s on the opposite corner of the intersection. So when should you signal your right turn? Don’t confuse the drivers coming at you by putting your signal on too soon. They might just make a left turn in front of you. But do get that signal on before you turn. Some drivers deliberately don’t signal a lane change because they fear that the drivers in that lane will speed up and close the gap, shutting out their move. That might happen occasionally, but usually if you do signal other drivers are courteous and let you in. Not signaling is dangerous and could cause an accident.
The danger at intersections: Dangers abound at intersections. An estimated 80 percent of fatal city collisions happen at intersections that have stoplights. Why are they so deadly? Because many motorists travel at speeds approaching 50 miles per hour at intersections and crashes are often t-bone hits where one car is hit either on the driver or passenger door. As you enter an intersection on a green light, look left, then right, then left again. Make sure it’s visually clear before you enter it.
Yellow means slow down, not speed up to beat the red light: Red means stop whether it’s a sign or a signal. If it’s a signal, yellow means slow down and stop! It’s pretty simple. Running stop signs and lights cause many fatalities every year. And remember, a rolling stop is not a stop in the eyes of the law. Would you rather spend your hard earned cash on a ticket or on something enjoyable?
Backing up: Many people back up without looking and that causes many accidents each year. If you don’t believe it, next time you’re walking through a parking lot (don’t do this when driving, it will distract you) check out the back ends of the cars for damage that comes from accidents caused by backing up without looking. Sadly, each year children are run over at home when cars are backed over them. Backing down a roadway is never a good idea either and on limited access highways it’s illegal. Even if it was, it wouldn’t be safe.
Freeway and expressway driving: Freeways and expressways have their own set of driving rules. Closed access highways forbid many things: stopping unless for an emergency, backing up and staying out of emergency vehicle crossover lanes are typical. Because limited access highways usually have higher speed limits, it’s critical that drivers pay attention and follow the rules of the road. One of the most important things to learn as a driver is to properly use the acceleration and deceleration lanes for entering and exiting a freeway.
When you drive safely and courteously, whether you’re on a country road, a city street or a limited access highway you’ll find that most other drivers will be courteous as well. So drive safely and enjoy your trip and consider talking to Allrisk Auto Insurance Agency if you’re in the market for auto insurance.