Does the Failure to Use Turn Signals Contribute to More Traffic Accidents than Driving Distractions?


October 18, 2013

The dangers posed by electronic distractions like cellphones, tablet computers, in-dash information systems and similar devices justifiably have received a substantial amount of attention from traffic safety regulators and the media.  While there is little dispute that electronic driving distractions cause a substantial number of auto accidents, there is a feature that has been installed in vehicles almost from their inception that may present an even more significant hazard.  According to a new study, drivers who fail to use their turn signal may contribute to more collisions than electronic distractions.

A recent study conducted by the Society of Automotive Engineers found that drivers fail to properly use their turn signals almost half the time.  Motorists either forget to activate the turn signal or do not stop the signal after completing a turn or lane change 48 percent of the time.    Drivers in the study who were executing a turn failed to use their signal a quarter of the time.  Although many drivers may dismiss the importance of using a turn signal, the researchers speculate that improper use of a turn signal contributes to an astounding two million car crashes annually.  The authors indicate that this is more than double the number of collisions caused by driving distractions (950,000).

The researchers have called on automakers to implement existing technology that may increase the use of turn signals.  The technology uses a computer and sensor system to automatically turn off a turn signal when it is no longer necessary.  The system also monitors the habits of a driver so that it can provide prompts in the form of beeps that remind a driver to activate the vehicle’s turn signal when appropriate.  Although traffic safety regulators have not yet joined the call for implementation of this emerging technology, this “smart turn signal” technology may become a standard feature in vehicles like seatbelts and airbags if it proves effective in reducing the number of car crashes in which the failure to use a traffic signal plays a role. 

When motorist do not use a traffic signal before executing a lane change, exiting a parking lot, turning at an intersection or in other situations where appropriate, this may provide a basis for imposing liability for a car accident resulting in injuries or fatalities.  When a vehicle moves into a lane and cuts off a vehicle already present in the lane or turns into the path of another vehicle at an intersection, the lack of warning from a traffic signal can be the critical factor that causes a collision.  If vehicles arrive simultaneously at a four way stop controlled by stop signs, a traffic signal is critical for determining the driver who has right of way.  Similarly, when a vehicle executes an unsafe lane change, the warning provided by a traffic signal may provide the split second or extra time a driver already in the lane needs to avoid a collision.

If you or someone you love is injured of a loved one dies in a collision incuding situations where a driver fails to use his or her turn signal, our Georgia car accident attorneys at Montlick and Associates are available to provide effective legal representation to those throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including all smaller cities and rural areas in the state.  No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333).  You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat. 

Category: Auto Accidents

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