Drivers fail to use turn signals

Kelly Mills

Seven percent of drivers do not use turn signals because it “adds excitement to driving.”

Response Insurance Company hired a polling company, Leflein Associates, to conduct a statistically valid survey of 1,000 adult drivers. The goal was to find out how many drivers do not use turn signals and, of those who don’t use them, why they don’t.

Ray Palermo, director of public relations for Response Insurance, said the company wants to bring awareness to issues people don’t think are problems, such as turn signal use. The survey found 57 percent of respondents don’t use turn signals when changing lanes.

“We periodically do national driving habits surveys,” Palermo said. “We were the first on driving distractions like cell phones and road rage.”

Palermo said he doesn’t think many people understand the severity of some of the things their surveys have focused on. He said the goal is to change dangerous behaviors drivers engage in.

“We want to choose issues that are important and don’t seem serious at first glance but need a public awareness campaign,” he said.

Ohio State Trooper Seth Howard said he sees more drivers using turn signals during his daytime shifts than he does on the midnight shift. He said this is probably because drivers try to alter their behavior when they see trooper vehicles, which are more difficult to distinguish in the dark.

Howard said he normally does not pull over drivers for turn signal violations during the day because they are not a problem. He said he is more concerned with actions that cause accidents.

Not using a turn signal “most of the time does not cause a crash,” he said. “Assured clear distance is the most common cause of an accident.”

Howard said failure to use turn signals at night will get more drivers pulled over. He said it’s a probable cause violation to pull someone over for drinking and driving.

The most common time for drivers to be cited for a turn signal violation is after a crash in which the failure to use a turn signal caused the accident, Howard said.

Often, though, it turns out being a “he said, she said” situation of whether the driver causing the crash used his or her turn signal.

Alice Ickes, crime prevention officer for the Kent State Police Department, said turn signal violations could cost the driver a fine, court costs and two points on his or her driver’s license.

She said the main problem with turn signals is that when they are used, they are used improperly.

“I’ve seen people turn their signal on and change lanes immediately,” Ickes said. “There is a problem that they’re not thinking ahead far enough.”

The study found that 42 percent of drivers who admitted to not using turn signals said it is because they didn’t have time, 23 percent chalked it up to laziness, 17 percent were frustrated because they forget to turn them off, 12 percent change lanes too frequently to bother, 11 percent find it unimportant and 8 percent conform because they say other drivers don’t use them. Drivers could enter multiple responses.

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