Improper Turn Signal Use More Deadly than Distracted Driving

They are treated as an option, but they are actually the law.

According to the Texas Transportation Code Section 545.104 B, “an operator intending to turn a vehicle right or left shall signal continuously for not less than the last 100 feet of movement of the vehicle before the turn.”

Harris County Police Officer Randy Beaty says there are several reasons why drivers should use turn signals.

“Legally, drivers are required to signal their intent to turn or change lanes,” Beaty says, “… and that failure to do so, is a violation of the law and an officer could stop someone and issue a citation.”

However, Beaty says that in his opinion, using turn signals is a matter of common courtesy to let other drivers know what is going to happen.

“As our society becomes ruder and more self-absorbed,” Beaty says, “they will use their turn signal less because they care less about being nice to those around them and don’t care about others.”

Richard Ponziani, of RLP Engineering, conducted research in 2012 on behalf of the Society of Automotive Engineers. The study, titled “Turn Signal Use Rate Results,” states “failure to use turn signals results in more than twice the number of accidents that are caused by distracted driving.”

Similarly, the study found that turn signals are functional, active safety features intended “to prevent crashes and to enhance traffic flow.”

Ponziani’s research further states that turn signals should be taken seriously as a vehicle safety issue.

Resonating the same sentiment, San Jacinto College student Taylor Burton says, “They do matter. Turning signals are my only way of letting other drivers know my intentions, and I think it is important to do everything I can to keep me and other drivers safe while I’m on the road.”

In the same spirit, Ponziani vehemently condones the absence of turn signal use considering there are millions of crashes that are preventable otherwise. He says, “It is simply unacceptable.”