How To Use Your Turn Signals Properly

by IndianAuto Team | 14/05/2019
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Everything is created for different purposes, so do turn signals. The more you understand how to use them properly, the better your driving skills would be

Communication is the key for two or more people to understand one another. In traffic, communication includes the way we use our turn signals. That is to say when we try to make others know we wish to turn left or right. However, many of us may not know how to make use of the signals properly and this may cause it hard to communicate with other drivers. If you find any difficulty in using turn signals, don’t worry because IndianAuto will provide a detailed guide of using them in this article.

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How to indicate a left turn using turn signals?

car turn signal

Remember to turn on signals every time you want to turn

Before making any left turn, keep a safe distance to help others have time to adapt. The recommended distance to activate the left-turn signal should be 30 metres prior to the corner where you make the turn. Additionally, make sure you are driving in the lane for left-turn, then it’s the time to turn on the signal. On top of that, you need to keep one hand on the steering wheel and brake gently after turning on the signal to inform others the reason of your slowing down. When you safely make a left turn, don’t forget to turn off the signal and get back on the right lane.

How to indicate a right turn using turn signals?

The proper way of turning on the right-turn signal is similar to that of activating the right-turn signal. In other words, you should turn on the signal 30 metres from where you make the turn and make sure you are on the right-turn lane. And after you make it, remember to turn off the signal. If you are still not sure whether the signals are on, simply check the lights on the dashboard or the tik-tik sound from your car.

How to tell others you are leaving a curb using turn signals?

car in a parking lot

When leaving any parking lot, you should activate turn signals so that people know what you're about to do

After letting your car spend a couple of time resting along the pavement, it is very important to inform others that you are going to get in the traffic again. First, inspect the side mirrors to make sure there is enough space for you to enter the road. Then warn other people by using the turn signal. After that, gently move your car and slowly accelerate to the left.

How to enter a highway with the help of turn signals?

Merge onto a highway or freeway is not an easy task for many people, especially new drivers. To make it easier for merging, on-ramps and acceleration lanes were born. An on-ramp is considered a transition from a road from which you come off and merge onto the highway, then it leads you onto the acceleration lanes. At the time you get into the acceleration lane, you are able to move along the highway and you have to look for your gap. On the acceleration lane, you must speed up the vehicle to highway speed which is posted on the speed limit signs. In other words, you need to accelerate quickly before the acceleration lane ends.


Merging onto a highway can be difficult for some people

While accelerating, look for your opening and turn on the signal all time, from the time you’re on the on-ramp to the end of the acceleration lane when you completely merge onto the highway or freeway. Because, in fact, our eyes are attracted to light and movement, the flashing light will help you get other people's attention. When seeing your signal, other drivers will assist you in merging onto the highway. They can either move to another lane or slow down to increase the gap between them and you. Keep in mind that you must check your mirrors frequently so as to know whether there is enough gap for you.

How to exit a highway with the help of turn signals?

On the highway, if the exit is on your left hand, move your car to the far-left lane. And of course, turn on the left-turn signal when you almost reach the exit, about 100 metres. Don’t slow down immediately; however, maintain the highway speed as you are approaching the off-ramp. At the moment you enter the off-ramp, you can slow down the car. In case you don’t want to exit the highway, simply drive straight and don’t turn on any signal.

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What to do if you want to change between lanes

a man riding a bicycle reflected in a car's side mirror

Remember to check your car's mirrors carefully before changing lanes

If you are on the a lane and want to move to the other lanes, all you need to do is activate your turn signal, check the mirrors carefully, and wait for the right time to switch to the lane you want. Here’s the detailed instruction:

  • Use the right-turn signal to move onto the right lane and left-turn signal to move onto the left lane.

  • Turn on your car’s signals not less than five seconds before changing lanes.

  • Check the mirrors carefully and consider if there is an opening for you to move, then move.

  • Only turn off the signal when you completely change into another lane.

If you want to change multiple lanes, don’t continuously move between them; instead, give each change a period before making another one.

Other related useful tips

cars in an intersection

Slowing down and making use of turn signals when you're in an intersection can be very helpful

  • Make sure you activate your turn signals before trying to make any turn or lane change; and after only you finish doing them, turn off the signals. In some modern cars, the signal can automatically turn off when you complete a turn though it is not so reliable. One of the best ways to check whether your signals are on is to inspect the indicator panel behind the steering wheel. Or you can listen for the tick-tock sound occurring when the signals are flashing.

  • It’s good to turn on the signals before making a turn; however, activating them too soon will counteract the benefits. That is because when you turn the signals on too soon, other drivers might misunderstand that you are about to turn or stop at the curbs, which you are not. As a consequence, this confusion may lead to a cut-off or, worse, an accident.

  • In case the car in front of you is about to turn while you are definitely not turning, you may want to brake, and the cars behind you will know you want to stop because the brake light will be triggered. Keep in mind that you needn’t signal a turn when you don’t wish to turn.

  • When getting out of a parking lot, you should turn on your blinker. This will keep you safe and let people around you know where you are going.

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