To The Left, To The Left

That may sound like a Beyoncé song, but really it’s what the blinker on your car tells other drivers. Well…assuming you actually use it. There’s nothing worse than driving along and the car in front of you randomly slows down, almost to a stop, and then at the last minute turns. If only there were some way to be considerate to the drivers around you to let them know why you’re slowing down for no apparent reason! Is there a kid about to run into the street? Is there a branch in the middle of the road? Why is this person slowing down? I must be some driving hazard that they can see in front of them, right? Oh, nope, none of that…they just don’t know how to use their blinker!

Case in point: I was run off the road a week before Christmas by someone who didn’t use their blinker. Yes, this genius was driving in the left hand lane on a 4-lane road (two lanes going in each direction). They slowed down in the left lane as I did not slow down in the right hand lane and was catching up to them while going the speed limit. Out of the blue they turned and crossed into my lane. No blinker – which would have alerted me that this person was going to come into my lane before I caught up to them. Evasive driving took over and I swerved to the right. The person realized I was there and thankfully stopped their car and I drove past the front end of their vehicle – ON THE SIDEWALK – and narrowly missed them.

Yes, it was his fault. It would have been had he used his blinker or not. And to those who say a blinker doesn’t hold up in court – that’s a lie! I was involved in an accident that was determined to be 60% my fault, 40% the other driver’s fault. The first question the judge asked me in small claims court (yes, the other driver was a bit of a jerk for being the one who ran a red light) was, “Did you use your blinker?” I said I did and the response was, “Good. If you hadn’t, this would have been 100% your fault.” So, yes people, blinkers hold up in court and blinkers DO matter!

As a courtesy, how about that person waiting at a stop sign on an adjacent street? If you put your blinker on because you’re turning to the right on that street, that person knows they don’t need to wait for you anymore and can safely cross or turn. Realistically, everyone seems to be in a hurry. Why not be courteous so that other people can be on their way just a little bit sooner?

Blinkers aren’t JUST for driving courtesy. They are also for safety. Oh, yes, you know where you are going. You are in the turning lane, it should be obvious. Too bad I’ve seen a lot of people not realize they are in a turning lane or pull out of a turning lane at the last second. A blinker in that situation let’s people know that you are aware you are turning. In the case where I was run off the road, if that person used their blinker, I would have been able to see it before I even got close to him and slow down in preparation for him to cut me off. I could have stayed at a safe distance.

Using your blinker at the last second right before you turn is about the dumbest use of a blinker ever. At that point it doesn’t matter because your car is already in the motion of turning and it doesn’t alert people at all. Blinkers don’t make that much noise and aren’t on for that long. You’re in a car, they make noise so you know they are on, get used to it. (That noise is also so you don’t drive forever with it blinking and you don’t know it’s even on.)

Basically, no matter what reason you give for not using a blinker, I will say to you, “Was it hard to flip that switch for your own safety, for the safety of the others around you and to be courteous?” I mean, C’mon man! It even turns itself off after you make the turn! Hahahaha!

But for real, please use your blinker. They were put on your vehicle for a reason and they never run out of fluid. It’s a simple, basic part of driving. Try it. You might find out it is even easier to use than you think.

About Justin Ochsner

Live Events Marketing and Public Relations. Connect on LinkedIn or Twitter @jochsner4
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