Use Your Blinker! | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

The dangers of distracted driving are well known. It is estimated that there are about 950,000 car crashes as a result. But there is another issue that many drivers never consider that causes twice as many accidents. According to the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), drivers failing to properly use turn signals contributes to nearly two million car accidents every year.

Turn signals are one of the most basic – and critical – vehicle-to-vehicle communication. Correctly using your turns signals allows other drivers enough time to slow down so you can safely change lanes or make your turn. Without these communications, there is a high risk of collisions because other drivers have no idea you are planning to stop and turn or jump into the lane in front of them. Many drivers can relate to how frustrating it is to suddenly have the vehicle in front of you suddenly stop with no warning because they are taking a turn, causing the vehicles behind them to have to slam their brakes to avoid crashing.


In their study, the SAE researchers observed 12,000 vehicles. Forty-eight percent of those drivers failed to use their turn signals when they were changing lanes, or they failed to turn off the signal once the lane change was done. Another 25 percent of drivers failed to use their turn signals when making a right or left turn.

In calculating their results of the study, the SAE concluded that drivers make turn signal errors approximately two billion times every single day. That comes out to 750 billion times per year, contributing to countless numbers of car crashes. Consider the number of injuries and deaths that could be avoided if all drivers simply using their turn signals.

In their study, the organization recommended that new vehicles come equipped with systems that warn drivers when their turn signals are not being used correctly. They also urged law enforcement officials to be more aggressive into penalizing drivers who fail to use their signals.

Are You Correctly Using Your Turn Signals?

Although it is part of every driver’s road test in order to obtain their license, not all drivers know the right way to use their turn signals. In order to help reduce your chance of being in a crash, keep the following in mind:

  • When you reach about 200 feet from where you plan to turn (or change lanes), turn your signal on to alert other drivers what you are planning on doing.
  • Before making the turn, check for other vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists. Don’t assume that everyone sees your signal blinking.
  • Once you have made your turn, make sure to turn off your signal. Most signals automatically turn off, but in maneuvers like lane changes, this must be done manually.

Contact a Virginia Personal Injury Attorney

Unfortunately, no matter how safely you drive, there are always negligent drivers on the road who fail to use their turn signals. If you are injured in a crash caused by another driver, a Virginia car accident attorney can assist you in obtaining financial compensation for any losses you have suffered as a result of those injuries. These losses include medical expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, permanent disability, scarring, and more.

Contact the legal team from Shapiro & Appleton today at (833) 997-1774 to set up a free and confidential case evaluation.