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P.U.T.S. - PLEASE USE TURN SIGNALS!

March 25, 2009 - Michael Palmer
I made a few phone calls to several of the surgeons in the area to try and confirm my suspicion that there have been a rash of accidents in the valley resulting in debilitating injury to a large number of residents left arm and hand. My suspicions were unconfirmed, resulting in the conclusion that the so-and-so in oncoming traffic is just too lazy or inconsiderate to use their turn signals.

Some of my fellow commuters need to realize that driving is a privilege, not a right and that as such, each of us must follow certain rules and guidelines that have been enacted into law to avoid a daily demolition derby on our roadways.

I realize that asking my fellow drivers to obey the posted speed limit is an unrealistic and unattainable goal, therefore let us remind these motorized morons that one of the important rules is the use of turn signals to indicate your intention to make a turn or lane shift.

Ohio Revised Code TITLE [45] XLV MOTOR VEHICLES -- AERONAUTICS -- WATERCRAFT CHAPTER 4511: TRAFFIC LAWS -- OPERATION OF MOTOR VEHICLES 4511.39 Turn and stop signals

(A) No person shall turn a vehicle or trackless trolley (I believe this includes Hummers and expensive luxury cars) or move right or left upon a highway unless and until such person has exercised due care to ascertain that the movement can be made with reasonable safety nor without giving an appropriate signal in the manner hereinafter provided.

When required, a signal of intention to turn or move right or left shall be given continuously during not less than the last one hundred feet traveled by the vehicle or trackless trolley before turning, except that in the case of a person operating a bicycle, the signal shall be made not less than one time but is not required to be continuous. A bicycle operator is not required to make a signal if the bicycle is in a designated turn lane, and a signal shall not be given when the operator’s hands are needed for the safe operation of the bicycle.

No person shall stop or suddenly decrease the speed of a vehicle or trackless trolley without first giving an appropriate signal in the manner provided herein to the driver of any vehicle or trackless trolley immediately to the rear when there is opportunity to give a signal.

The last paragraph of the same section of Ohio Law is obviously concerning brake lights, I included this to make the following point. If turn signals are pointless then - What’s the point of having brake lights?

I know what you are thinking, “Like hey dude, you are hashing my mellow drive time. I have so much life stress and when I get in my car I just want to sip my designer beverage and chill to my MP3 or satellite radio tune-age whilst chatting with and/or texting my buds. It heals me.”

Come on people, it's only fair to let other drivers know what you are going to do.

One could argue that if there are no other cars on the road, you should be free to do whatever you want without using any signal. However if you think about it, how many times have you heard someone say, "I didn't see the other car," just after an accident?

It would seem that a considerate driver would use his/her turn signals at all times, regardless of the time of day or traffic conditions, just like a careful driver would drive safely at all times, regardless of whether any other drivers are around or whether the police are watching.

Zipping from lane to lane or turning in traffic without using turn signals is not only rude, it is dangerous. It can also result in road rage when other drivers are cut off or need to brake suddenly to avoid a collision. The consequences of such inconsiderate behavior can range from a horn blast followed by a brief lesson in “French” and the appearance of the universal signal for driving displeasure, "the finger"; to a driver becoming violent and going all MMA - Travis “the Terror” Clark - on your bad self.

So, have I made my point? Let’s make the effort to raise the left arm and move the little stick thingy up and down to make the pretty lights go blinky-blinky.

For those who do use their turn signals and are merging onto I-70, I would like to add that after you signal your intention to drive into my lane where I am going 65 mph, you are not automatically entitled to make the maneuver and place your 35 mph rolling roadblock in my path. In other words, even if you are nice enough to use your blinkers, it's necessary to be sure that the place you intend to go is not already occupied by another driver. Make sure it's clear before you move.

I am not going to get up under you, get you loose and put you into the wall. I am a nice guy and like many observant drivers, I am nice enough to let other drivers "in" if they signal their intention. Myself, and many other intelligent and courteous drivers have been known to even slow down a little and wave at someone to "go ahead" in response to a turn signal.

And while I am ranting let’s cover one more - why we don’t use our headlights? I know there are plenty of street lights and I already have mine on. So what’s the point, right? I hope the automatic head light trend in automotive engineering goes universal in the near future, perhaps someone is working on automatic turn signals?

 
 

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