Correct use of signals
The correct use of signals is a key element in safe driving. Getting the right balance of signalling when it is appropriate so that drivers know what you are intending to do, whilst not over signalling is important. The driving test examiner will be looking to see if you know when it is appropriate to signal and will want to make sure that you don’t signal unnecessarily or at the wrong time.
Let’s take a look at the different signals that you use as a driver and how you should use them properly.
How to Use Direction Signals
The most common signals used when driving are the brake lights and the direction indicators. To use signals properly you need to always make sure you check your mirrors before you signal, this is so you can make the decision that it is safe to make the manoeuvre you wish to make before you indicate to other drivers that you are going to do this.
The correct uses of signals are:
*To indicate to other drivers and pedestrians what you are going to do.
*To be courteous to all other drivers and pedestrians.
*To be used at the correct time so that others have time to respond appropriately.
When is it unnecessary to use a signal?
Signalling needs to be done correctly, otherwise you can confuse other drivers and pedestrians. The question you need to ask yourself is, will someone benefit from my signal? Ask yourself this every time you are either about to move off or are coming to a stop. Check your mirrors to see if there is someone behind you and if there is give them the correct signal to let them know what you are about to do.
It is important that you do not signal too soon, as this can be confusing to other road users. Sitting at the side of the road with your signal on as you are waiting to be able to move off is not the correct use of your indicators. You should only put on your indicator as you are about to move off.
Another occasion where it is unnecessary to signal is when driving past vehicles that are parked at the side of the road. In these instances, you need to plan ahead – check your mirrors and move out so that you can pass the vehicle. Your position on the road will indicate to other road users what your intentions are and they will know that you are going to pass the parked cars.
How to Time your Signals
Perfecting the timing of your signals takes a bit of practice, but it will soon become second nature. The correct timing of signals is particularly important when you are turning or emerging, overtaking another moving vehicle or changing lanes.
For example, if you are intending to take the second road on the left do not signal until you pass the first road on the left. If you signal too early in this instance the cars behind you will think you are turning sooner than you yourself intend to do so. It can also be dangerous – if there is someone waiting to pull out from the first road on the left they may pull out in front of you thinking that you are turning into their road.
There are some early indications you can give to drivers behind you that you are intending to turn soon, without putting your indicator on too early. It may be the case that the car behind you is driving very close and you are worried that they may go into the back of you when you need to slow down to turn. In this instance, you can start to gently brake as you get closer to the turning, and if the first left is clear of emerging vehicles you could signal a little earlier.
It is all about being able to read the situation you are in and knowing how to respond in the safest possible way. As you drive more and more it will become a lot easier to signal correctly as you gain experience. Use your common sense and think about how other drivers will interpret the signals you are making.
Remember to always turn your indicator off once you have completed your movement. (Tobe continued)
(HAARKS DRIVING SCHOOL, JAIAW)
Correct use of signals