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Signaling When Changing Lanes – the Forgotten Turn Signal

Cars on the road in three different lanes

Virginia law is quite clear that you have to put on a turn signal when you are changing lanes. The purpose of this safety rule is to let other motorists know what your intentions are. You are supposed to give at least 50 feet worth of turn signal before changing lanes on roads that have a speed limit of 35 miles an hour or less. If you’re going over 35 mph you have to give 100 feet of turn signal prior to making your lane change.

The increase from 50 to 100 feet of signal is based upon the fact that a vehicle going 45 is moving quite a bit quicker than one going 35. At 45 miles an hour a vehicle is traveling at about 66 feet per second. So 100 feet of turn signal means that the motorist behind you at 45 miles an hour is going to get at least a second and a half of warning before you change lanes.

It seems to me that I see a lot fewer turn signals than I should. One reason I think people don’t signal these days is because one hand is on their cell phone leaving only one hand for the wheel and no hand for the turn signal. Another possible reason for the lack of turn signals is just a lack of civility and courtesy that may be a factor in our modern hectic lives. The other common safety error that you see is someone turning their signal on as they’re changing lanes but not doing it before they change lanes. This is really the same as not doing any signal at all. I’m not sure how to get everyone on the road in Virginia to do the right and obey all of the rules to pertain to operators of motor vehicles. However like so many things if you start with yourself and do the right thing perhaps you can have an influence on others leading by example. Don’t forget to turn on your blinker when necessary.

If you have been hurt in an accident caused by a driver who has failed to signal, you may have grounds to make a claim on the at-fault driver’s insurance policy. A Virginia car accident lawyer can help you out. Call Cooper Hurley at 757.997.6254 or see See our advice on what to do after a car accident in Virginia.

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