The route I normally take to work includes if you’ve left turns cross busy roads. Depending on the route only one of these includes a traffic light, so I have the opportunity to wait for a hole in the flow of traffic to cross the traffic and continue to make my way to work.

This morning on my first of such turns as I was waiting one of the oncoming cars had his turn signal on about half a block ahead of where he was going to turn directly on the road I was leaving. His turn signal well in advance allowed me time to survey traffic coming to the other direction and make my cross safely. So why do I bring this up? The reason I take such special note of this guys turns signal is that it was so unusual to have him provide me with advance notice!

Why is it that so many people have such a hard time remembering to use a turn signal?! Granted there are many people that do remember to use a turn signal, but typically they turn it on at the last minute, practically hitting that stick as they’re turning the wheel to make the turn. At the moment I’m just talking about making actual turns. If we talk about lane changes the percentage of people using their turn signal goes way down. Not only is it law to use your turn signal, but it’s also just common courtesy.That Elusive Turn Signal The other day I heard a bit of a morning radio show where they were complaining about this very topic. One of the funniest quotes I heard them say was that “It’s not a sign of weakness to use your turn signal folks!” Isn’t that the truth? Do we think were bolder drivers and for not giving away our intentions and just aggressively taking that lane or making that turn? No, not bolder, just a bit more stupid.

I have a very short commute to work, on a bad day it’s all of 10 minutes. Even a short distance I travel I see on average probably one accident a week. 90% of those accidents I see are due to one car hitting another that was making a turn. Now I can’t categorically say that a turn signal is to blame in these situations, but I would guess it is a factor more often than not.

Several years ago I remember receiving a funny e-mail that listed out “rules of driving in Utah.” Now I knew this list had been modified to include Utah as a state name because most of the rules would be funny with whatever state name included. I try to do a quick search online and came up with only a version for New Jersey, so I thought I would post a list here with the state name replaced with an “insert here” statement to show how it applies to anyone. Note that the very first jokingly included rule has to do with the turn signal. I rest my case.

That Elusive Turn Signal

  1. Turn signals will give away your next move. A real {Your State} driver never uses them.
  2. Under no circumstances should you leave a safe distance between you and the car in front of you, or space will be filled in by somebody else putting you in an even more dangerous situation.
  3. Crossing two or more lanes in a single lane-change is considered going with the flow.
  4. The faster you drive through a red light, the smaller the chance you have of getting hit.
  5. Never, ever come to a complete stop at a stop sign. No one expects it and it will inevitably result in you being rear-ended. If you want your insurance company to pay for a new rear bumper, come to a complete stop at all stop signs.
  6. A right lane construction closure is just a game to see how many people can cut in line by passing you on the right as you sit in the left lane waiting for the same jerks to squeeze their way back in before hitting the orange construction barrels.
  7. Never get in the way of an older car that needs extensive bodywork. {Your State} is a no-fault insurance state and the other guy doesn’t have anything to lose.
  8. Braking is to be done as hard and late as possible to ensure that your ABS kicks in, giving a nice, relaxing foot massage as the brake pedal pulsates. For those of you without ABS, it’s a chance to stretch your legs.
  9. Never pass on the left when you can pass on the right. It’s a good way to scare people entering the highway.
  10. Speed limits are arbitrary figures, given only as suggestions and are apparently not enforceable in {Your State} during rush hour.
  11. Just because you’re in the left lane and have no room to speed up or move over doesn’t mean that a {Your State} driver flashing his high beams behind you doesn’t think he can go faster in your spot.
  12. Please remember that there is no such thing as a shortcut during rush-hour traffic in {Your State}.
  13. Always slow down and rubberneck when you see an accident or even someone changing a tire.
  14. Learn to swerve abruptly. {Your State} is the home of high-speed slalom driving thanks to the State Highway Department, which puts potholes in key locations to test drivers’ reflexes and keep them on their toes.
  15. It is traditional in {Your State} to honk your horn at cars that don’t move the instant the light changes.
  16. Never take a green light at face value. Always look right and left before proceeding.
  17. Remember that the goal of every {Your State} driver is to get there first, by whatever means necessary.
  18. Real {Your State} women drivers can put on panty hose and apply eye makeup at seventy-five miles per hour in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
  19. Real {Your State} men drivers can remove their girlfriend’s panties and bra at seventy-five miles per hour or in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
  20. In the {Your State} area ‘flipping someone the bird’ is considered a polite {Your State} salute. This gesture should always be returned.