In an era dominated by technological advancements and constant internet connectivity, the dangers of distracted driving have garnered significant attention – and smartphones have taken the brunt of the blame for a lot of accidents.
However, there’s a lesser-known threat out there on our roads: turn signal neglect. Experts say that it can actually be causing more accidents than distracted driving.
How bad is the problem?
There aren’t a lot of studies on the issue, but one performed by the Society of Automotive Engineers indicates that drivers only remember to flip their turn signals on about 50% of the time when they’re changing lanes and 25% of the time when they’re just turning.
That’s pretty bad. All told, it’s estimated that two million wrecks a year could be averted by more conscious (and more frequent) use of turn signals. The failure to use turn signals properly can lead to:
- Rear-end collisions: Imagine you’re driving on a multi-lane highway, and the car ahead of you suddenly slows down and veers to the right without signaling. Are they changing lanes or pulling over? The lack of a turn signal leaves you guessing, leading to unnecessary stress and the potential for a rear-end collision.
- Increased danger for vulnerable road users: Pedestrians and cyclists rely heavily on visual cues from drivers to anticipate their movements. Failing to signal turns or lane changes can put these vulnerable road users at greater risk since it gives them no clue about a driver’s next move.
- Incidents of road rage: Courtesy is always important, and neglecting to use turn signals suggests a lack of consideration for other drivers. That can cause a driver who is already stressed to grow hostile – which also increases the chances of a wreck.
If you do end up in a wreck because someone else failed to use their signals, find out more about your legal options.