Thursday, July 23, 2015

PSA: Driving Etiquette/ Turn signals

Perhaps just too much is going on in my normally placid life.
I went to visit my friend Cindi this morning- her birthday is tomorrow, and I wouldn't have another opportunity to see her until we return from getting our intrepid trail hikers.

I found myself on a stretch of highway through town- a big ol' white truck ahead of me. It's not only going slower than the speed limit by a great deal- it is slowing down. Slower, slower... what is going ON with that? Then, brake lights, and the guy turns right, into a construction site. Oooo-Kaaay! Now I know why he was going at a strolling pace down the highway.

But I would of known sooner, and not been left wondering... and perhaps even been afforded an opportunity to pass, had the driver used these little devices that come standard on every vehicle in the USA these days. The little thing called a "turn signal". When someone uses a turn signal properly, other drivers don't have to wonder about your intentions. "Oh, he is going to turn RIGHT at the construction site!"

Turn signals are usually found on the steering column. The "Steering column" is that post that the steering wheel is attached to, that disappears through the dash of the car. "Turn Signals" look like small rods protruding from either the left or right side of the steering column. Depending on which side your turn signal is mounted on, you tap it from the top to indicate you plan to turn one direction, tap it from the bottom to indicate the opposite direction. The tapping of the rod, either up, or down, will activate a blinking light on the exterior of the vehicle. In most cases, the turn signal cancels itself out after you have completed the turn. Not only should you indicate your intention of turning, you should also use these clever devices to let folks know you plan to cut them off. (AKA "change lanes").

Here in the south, turn signals are no indication one does, in fact, intend to turn or change lanes. Often, the blinking light you see on an approaching car simply means that the "turn signal" was activated before the car was purchased, and the driver has no clue it is even on. (If you do not actually witness a person's turn signal being activated, never assume they do, in fact, plan to turn. This lack of assumption may save your life!)
If you are unfamiliar with the "turn signal", please take a few minutes to explore them on your vehicle. Make sure your vehicle is in "Park" (the big "P" on the control indicator.) Start the vehicle. Locate the rods protruding below the steering wheel. Try tapping the rod up. Exit the vehicle, and you should see a blinking light on the front and rear of the vehicle, on one side or the other. Tapping the rod downward once will cause the blinking to stop. Tap it down again... and the blinking light will appear on the opposite side of the vehicle!
USE the turn signal EVERY TIME you plan to turn or change lanes! It is a simple courtesy that could save your life.

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