Turn Signal-itis

No one signals anymore.

They change lanes, turn, or pull to the curb without warning. In the last couple of years, it’s become epidemic. That means you have to watch their body language, not their turn indicators. In fact, a lot of the time, they signal and don’t mean it – or signal right and make a u-turn left.

Watch what they do, not what they say.

To all you drivers who aren’t using your turn signals:
What is wrong with you? Why don’t you just signal, so the other drivers can anticipate your maneuver and avoid killing you or others!? It doesn’t take any time. All you have to do, literally, is lift your finger. That way, we all see what you’re up to, especially when you’re making abrupt unexpected moves.

Don’t count on everyone else to read your mind. You remember everyone else, right? All those other people hurtling down the road in two tons of steel three feet away from you?
Plus, if you’re changing into their lane, guess what? It’s their right of way! Whoever is in the lane has the right of way. Whoever is merging in is supposed to yield.

Not to defend the non-signalers, but, on the flip side:
When you do indicate you want to change lanes, rather than leaving room so you can merge, other drivers often purposefully speed up to prevent it.

No one has any social skills here, at least not on the road. Not one in twenty will let you merge in front of them. I don’t know why. It’s not a race. We aren’t even going to the same place!

To all drivers who feel irrationally territorial:
Relax! It’s not your lane, it’s the city’s lane, we’re all just riding on it. When you see someone signaling to come into your lane, how about leaving them space to do it – maybe even waving them in with a hand signal, acknowledging their existence? If they’re using their indicator, don’t you want to reinforce their behavior?

If they aren’t signaling, and just boorishly assuming the right of way, I admit that I don’t always let them in. Courtesy is a two-way street. In a heavy merge, one from column A, one from column B.

When you are changing lanes: After indicating, checking your mirror, and blind spot, and finding a natural gap, or asking for permission, not cutting someone off, for pity’s sake, get on with it! If another driver is giving you space, don’t make them regret it by going too slow and dragging on everybody’s chain.

One major cause of people changing lanes without signaling:
Slow vehicles in the left (fast) lane.

If you aren’t passing another vehicle, or looking for a left turn, STAY TO THE RIGHT. As an assertive driver myself, I can tell you that slow vehicles in the left lane are an extreme irritant, driving faster drivers to change lanes faster, and more frequently, and often without signaling. I’d never change lanes without signaling, but others do. Although, I can get plenty annoyed with slow drivers in the left lane, especially if they are under the speed limit. The left lane is the FAST LANE – unless you are preparing to make a left turn. Then, please communicate your intention to other drivers by using your turn signal!

If you intend to change lanes, turn, or leave your lane for any reason – even a few inches over the line – for your own sake, and everyone else’s, please lift a finger and put on your blinker. It will make the streets of LA safer and more pleasant for everyone.

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