Lafayette, We Need to Have a Serious Talk About Turning Signals
You know how when you're driving and you need to turn or change lanes, you flick that thing by your left hand so other drivers know what you're doing? Please make sure you're using it.
I'm not over here thinking I'm the best driver in the world. I know I'm not, but I do try the best I can to stay safe while driving. We all make mistakes, but what I've noticed on the roads are far from honest mistakes.
For those who have seemingly forgotten why turning signals are important, wikihow.com explains that "by providing a signal, you communicate to others on the road. This keeps you and other drivers safe and prevents accidents."
On my daily commute, there's one place in particular by Comeaux High that could be the most aggravating intersection in Lafayette. As I arrive at the stop sign before making a left turn, the cross-traffic can either keep going straight or turn right without having to stop for either. If the on-coming vehicle is going straight, then clearly I wait until they've passed before I make my left turn. If the on-coming vehicle is taking a right, I can safely make my left turn without needing to wait.
The problem is no one ever uses their blinker to indicate a right turn so I just have to sit there like a schmuck and wait. Drivers can clearly see someone waiting at the stop sign buy it never occurs to anyone to indicate if they're driving straight or turning.
This is just one of numerous, daily examples I can give you. I'm sure you have many stories about self-absorbed drivers not using signals. Clearly this isn't just a Lafayette problem, this happens all over Acadiana.
We've got to do better y'all. Using turning signals isn't just a cute suggestion, it's the law.
Just in case anyone needs a refresher on how to actually use turning signals, here's how it works.
From wikihow.com -
1. Locate the lever on the left side of the steering column. The turn signal is a long lever, usually black or gray in color. When moved up or down, this lever will cause a light on either the left or right side of your car to flash.
2. Use the turn signal to indicate a turn to the left. To signal a left turn, wait until you are approximately 30 yards from the corner around which you intend to turn. Ensure you are in the left-turn lane, then push the turn signal lever down gently with your left hand. When the turn signal locks in place, you’ll be able to see a flashing arrow directed to the left on your instrument cluster. You’ll also hear a tick-tock sound which clicks in time with the flashing of the light.
3. Indicate a right-hand turn with the turn signal. To signal a right turn, wait until you are within about 30 yards of the corner you wish to round. Ensure you are in the right-turn lane, then move the lever up with your left hand.
4. Ensure your turn signal turns off after your turn has been completed. Normally, the signal will automatically turn off after you have completed the turn, but if the turn was less than 90 degrees, the signal may not turn off. Check the indicator panel above and just behind your steering wheel.
5. Signal your turn even if you are in a turning lane. Some traffic lanes are reserved for left or right turns only. While it might seem unnecessary to indicate you’re turning when it should be obvious based on the lane you’re in, use the turn signal anyway.