The more you drive – the more you may have noticed an increasing lack of road manners or etiquette displayed by other drivers. Not only do mannerless motorists put you and themselves at risk of an accident, they can also make your auto insurance skyrocket – even if it’s not your fault.
We’ve all encountered “that guy”
We’ve all encountered “that guy”, who weaves in and out of traffic, cutting cars off, and never once signaling his or her intentions. If you’re a conscientious driver, who uses his turn signals when changing lanes, you’re part of the solution. On the other hand, should you be “that guy”, driving through traffic as though your vehicle didn’t come equipped with a turn indicator, you’re part of the problem.
While you may not give it much thought, road rage incidents begin with something as innocent as cutting another driver off without first signaling. Furthermore, according to a 2012 report from the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), nationwide, neglected or improper turn signal use causes an estimated 2 million car accidents a year.
Fifty percent fail to use indicators
In the SAE study, researchers found that approximately 50 percent of drivers observed failed to employ their turn indicators on lane changes or making a turn.
Getting irritated by a driver, who doesn’t signal before changing lanes in front of you is now fairly common on most commutes. But, you can do your share to curb the problem by following a few simple rules of lane etiquette.
1. Proper use of lanes
Whether you’re driving on a two or three lane highway, the right lane is for slower moving traffic intent on maintaining the speed limit or lower. Don’t drive in the middle or fast lane, if you intend to putt along. That only leads to other motorists getting angry and making a dangerous or irrational maneuver to get around you.
2. If you need to pass
Should you come up on a vehicle moving slower than the flow of traffic, passing on the left is generally your safest choice. Check for cars alongside you or in your blind spot and be sure to use your left turn signal before attempting to pass. Avoid passing on the right, if possible, unless that’s your only option.
3. If you need to turn
While left turns are the most dangerous to make, turning right without signaling results in an excessive number of accidents from rear end collisions.
It’s common sense that the use of turn indicators advises your fellow motorists on the road of your intentions, thereby, giving them ample time to slow down behind you – without rearranging the shape of your tail lights and trunk.
According to Penny Gusner, consumer analyst at CarInsurance.com, getting pulled over for a failure-to-signal citation could affect your auto insurance rates in several ways, especially if that failure results in an accident. The citation itself could cost you a great deal more when it comes time for your car insurance policy to be renewed.
Insurer could adjust or deny your claim
In fact, if you’re found at fault because you didn’t use your turn signal, your insurer could decide to adjust your claim downward or deny it altogether, says Gusner.
So, you may want to think twice about not using your turn signals to make sure you’re not “that guy”.