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Turn Signals: Why A Lot of Drivers Fail to Use Them

Failure to use turn signals leading to auto accidents.

Everyone has experienced the frustration of another driver suddenly cutting into their lane without using a turn signal. While, most of the time, drivers who don’t signal are a minor annoyance, the situation is much more serious in some cases. In fact, the failure to use turn signals is a leading cause of auto accidents in Oregon and Washington. If you’ve been injured in an auto accident because another driver didn’t use a turn signal, you may be entitled to compensation through an auto accident lawsuit.

Turn Signal Statistics

Every driver learns in drivers’ education that they need to use turn signals. However, about 76% of drivers fail to use turn signals. Why do drivers feel like they don’t need to follow the rules when it comes to turn signals? While most drivers use turn signals at least some of the time, according to traffic studies, there are certain situations where drivers are less likely to signal.

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The Direction of the Turn

One situation in which drivers are less likely to signal is when they are making a right turn. Specifically, one study found that 25% of drivers making a left turn failed to use turn signals, compared to 29% of drivers making a right. It’s true that left turns are more dangerous than right turns, and drivers making a left turn may be more likely to realize the importance of using their signals.

However, turn signals are essential regardless of the direction a driver is turning. For example, drivers who don’t signal when making a right turn can confuse oncoming motorists who are about to make a left turn. This can lead to a situation in which both drivers attempt to turn into the same lane at the same time.

Size of the Road

Motorists are least likely to use their turn signals when driving on small local roads. In fact, the same study found that drivers are five times more likely to use a turn signal when driving on major roads. However, the study only looked at drivers who were making left and right turns at an intersection and not those switching lanes on the highway, which is a leading cause of accidents.

Other Cars on the Road

Drivers also fail to use turn signals more often when there is less traffic on the road. For example, the results of one study revealed that drivers are 1.5 times more likely to use a signal when there were one or more cars around them. Presumably, drivers are under the impression that there is no need to use their signals when there is less traffic. Of course, this is not the case, as it only takes one other car on the road to cause a serious accident.

The Good Example of Other Drivers

Perhaps the most interesting finding among the studies looking into the use of turn signals is that drivers who see other motorists signal before turning are more likely to signal themselves. Psychologists refer to this as the “modeling effect,” which describes a situation where someone does something not because they are told to or because they know they should, but because they see other people doing it.

Accidents Caused by Drivers’ Failure to Use Turn Signals

When a driver fails to use their turn signals, they place everyone else on the road at risk. Not surprisingly, drivers’ failure to use a turn signal is a leading cause of accidents in Oregon and Washington. For example, the most recent traffic accident data from Oregon shows that there were almost 800 accidents caused by drivers’ failure to signal, including those involving improper lane changes.

In Washington, there were 87 accidents with “failure to signal” listed as the primary contributing factor. However, it is important to note that accidents caused by a driver’s failure to use their turn signals may be classified under another type of accident, such as improper lane change, drunk driving, distracted driving, or fatigued driving.

Recovering After an Auto Accident

If you were injured in an auto accident caused by another driver’s failure to use turn signals, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. All drivers on the road owe a legal duty to everyone else on the road, including other drivers, passengers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. When a driver doesn’t use their turn signal and causes an accident, it is a violation, or breach, of that duty. If you can show that your injuries were caused by the negligent driver’s failure to use their turn signal, you can recover for your accident-related expenses.

While every accident impacts a victim’s life differently, all accidents can take a tremendous toll on your life, limiting where you can work, what you can do, and how you live your life. In general, if you’re successful in proving your case against the other driver, you can recover a variety of damages. Most often, a damages award in an Oregon or Washington auto accident case includes compensation for the following:

  • Medical expenses;
  • Lost wages while you cannot work due to your injuries;
  • Any decrease in your earning potential caused by your injuries;
  • Pain and suffering; and
  • Loss of enjoyment of life.

A skilled injury lawyer can help identify the full extent of your damages, so you are not left on the hook for another driver’s negligence.

Contact the Oregon and Washington Auto Accident Legal Team at the D’Amore Law Group for Immediate Assistance

If you were recently involved in a auto accident in Washington or Oregon, reach out to the dedicated injury attorneys at the D’Amore Law Group to discuss your options. We have more than 30 years of experience helping accident victims overcome the hurdles on the road to recovery, ensuring they are fairly compensated for the impact the accident had on their life. To learn more and to schedule a free consultation with one of our lawyers, call us today at 503-222-6333. You can also reach out to us through our online form, and one of our attorneys will be in touch.

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