We have seen it happen many times – a driver attempts to make a turn or change lanes but chooses not to use their turn signal. You may be thinking that it’s common sense and a simple act really, but this small action can prevent many common accidents and violations from happening on the road.
Turn Signals and Automobile Accident Statistics
Whether it’s turning into a parking lot, switching lanes on the highway, or pulling out of a side street, when a driver uses their turn signal, they are allowing others know their desired path. Using turn signals is especially crucial in order to avoid accidents on the highway as cars are moving very fast.
According to research by the Society of Automotive Engineers, drivers either neglect to use their signals when changing lanes or fail to turn the signals off 48% of the time. When making a turn the failure rate is around 25%. That works out to 2 billion times a day drivers fail to use signals — 750 billion times annually!
Ohio Turn Signal Laws
Ohio law says, “No person shall turn a vehicle or move right or left upon a highway… without giving an appropriate signal in the manner hereinafter provided.”
- A motorist must give a turn signal or intention to turn left or right continuously during at least the last one hundred feet traveled before turning.
- A vehicle’s speed is not to be stopped or suddenly decreased without the appropriate signals being given first.
- The turn signal required is given by signal lights (or by hands and arm if on a bicycle) to both the approaching and the following traffic.
For those who violate this section of the Ohio Revised Code (4511.39) are guilty of a minor misdemeanor. If a driver who violated this law was previously convicted or pleaded guilty within one year to one predicate motor vehicle or traffic offense, they would be guilty of a misdemeanor of the fourth degree. And if within one year of violating this section, the driver was previously convicted of two or more predicate offenses, they would face a misdemeanor of the third degree.
Safe Driving – Communicating With Turn Signals
Turn signals act as a form of communication. Without using the blinker, another driver has no idea when you might be going and you can’t assume what moves they will make either. Engaging your turn signal allows for all surrounding vehicles to adequately prepare for the next sequence of events, benefitting the safety of all traffic involved. Before you begin to turn, you should always provide enough time for the other drivers to recognize that you are about to turn, and enough space for you to make this turn.
Below are some specific examples in which you should use your turn signals:
- Making turns
- Switching lanes
- Intersections and traffic lights
- Overtaking a cyclist
- Pulling away
You might not always be aware that you are violating a traffic law, however, this doesn’t mean you won’t be cited for doing so. Keeping these points in mind will make for a safer, more responsible driving attitude and help reduce traffic accidents by making sure all road users are aware of the driver’s intentions.
Mckenzie & Snyder LLP is here for you if you have been through an accident.
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