Far too many drivers either never use a turn signal at all or do not use it correctly. Yet studies show that improper turn signal use is a contributing factor in millions of crashes each year. This is mind-boggling when one thinks about how simple it is to use a turn signal. It also raises the question of liability for one of these completely preventable crashes.
Schmidt Kramer explains the laws for turn signal use in Pennsylvania. We also discuss who may be liable if a driver causes a crash after failing to signal or signaling improperly.
Were you injured in a crash because another driver neglected to use a turn signal? If so, we encourage you to seek legal help right away. You could be eligible to recover significant compensation for your medical costs and other damages.
If you need an experienced auto accident lawyer in Harrisburg, our law firm is ready to help. Check out what other clients have said about our legal services and then call to request your FREE case review. If we represent you, there are no upfront costs to pay. We only get paid for our services if we win compensation for you.
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When Should Drivers Use Their Turn Signals?
Drivers are required to signal when making certain maneuvers on the road, such as:
- Turning at intersections: Regardless of whether they are turning left or right, drivers should always use the appropriate signal to indicate to other traffic which direction they are going.
- Merging: Many drivers believe signaling when merging is unnecessary. However, you should signal properly any time you change lanes or merge onto a road or highway from an entrance ramp.
- Passing other vehicles: Unless laws permit otherwise, you should only pass vehicles on the left. Use your turn signal to avoid causing a serious crash with another vehicle behind you that was not expecting you to change lanes.
- Entering or exiting a parking lot: Parking lots are prime spots for car crashes as there is often a lot of confusion. Using your turn signal indicates to other vehicles, as well as cyclists or pedestrians, which direction you intend to go.
- Exiting or entering a highway: It is important to use your turn signal when entering or exiting a highway ramp. This helps other traffic to have time to slow down or drive around you safely.
It is worth remembering that all drivers have a legal duty to prevent causing harm to others. The proper use of a turn signal can prevent millions of car accidents every year.
What Types of Crashes Are Caused By Drivers Who Fail to Signal?
When someone fails to signal, others sharing the road have no advanced notice if that driver is about to turn. Even signaling improperly, such as signaling at the last minute or at the same time you turn or change lanes, is dangerous.
Here are some of the types of crashes commonly caused by failing to signal or improper use of a turn signal:
Rear-Ending a Turning Driver
If a turning driver neglects to use his or her signal, it could lead to a rear-end collision. Often, the rear-ending driver is fully liable for following too closely or for distracted driving. In this situation, however, the driver in front could at least share liability for not signaling.
Merging and Lane-Change Crashes
Many drivers signal at the last second or while they are merging or changing lanes. However, this does not give other drivers a chance to respond and could result in a crash. Other drivers simply recklessly dart in and out of traffic lanes without ever signaling and with no regard for safety.
Unfortunately, drivers who fail to signal or signal at the last second could cause dangerous reactions in other drivers. For instance, a driver may swerve to avoid hitting the vehicle that changed lanes without signaling. Sometimes this can cause a driver to lose control, which could lead to a sideswipe crash. Worse still, a driver who loses control could end up in oncoming traffic and hit another vehicle head-on.
Preventing Crashes With Vulnerable Road Users
Pedestrians, cyclists and other vulnerable road users often rely on drivers using their turn signals to know whether it is safe to cross a street or not. If a driver has his or her turn signal still on from a completed turn, it could fool a pedestrian into thinking it was okay to cross.
This is a situation where drivers can be held fully liable for pedestrian crashes caused by a failure to signal or improper use of a turn signal.
What Are the Laws for Turn Signal Use in Pennsylvania?
Many drivers may mistakenly believe that using their turn signal is an optional courtesy. However, not only does using your turn signal properly help prevent injuries to yourself and others, but in Pennsylvania, it is also the law.
Title 75 of the PA General Assembly states the following:
General Rule Regarding Turning or Moving a Vehicle Into Traffic
No person shall turn a vehicle, change from one lane of traffic to another, or enter a stream of traffic from a parked position unless it can be done with reasonable safety. In all of these situations, these maneuvers must also not be done without giving an appropriate signal.
When to Use Signals During Turning or Starting
When traveling at speeds of 35 miles per hour or less, vehicles must give the appropriate turn signal (left or right) continuously from not less than 100 feet prior to making a turn. When traveling faster than 35 miles per hour, drivers are required to signal continuously not less than the last 300 feet traveled prior to turning or entering a stream of traffic from a parked position.
How Can Drivers Prove Liability for a Crash Due to a Failure to Signal?
It can be extremely challenging to prove a crash was caused by a failure to signal or improper turn signal use. However, seeking help from an experienced attorney may greatly benefit your claim. Statistics show that crash victims with legal representation often recover far more compensation than those who do not.
Additionally, your attorney can help you to gather evidence that supports your claim, such as:
- The police report from the crash scene
- Video footage, such as from a traffic cam, smartphone or dash cam
- Testimony from a credible witness
Injured in a Failure to Signal Crash? Call for Legal Help Today
Schmidt Kramer is a trusted Pennsylvania law firm with decades of experience managing auto accident claims. We have the resources and staff to get the job done, and we always seek the maximum possible compensation for our clients.
Not sure if you have a case? You can find out at no cost or obligation today. Contact our firm to discuss your potential legal options with one of our qualified attorneys today.
Not sure when to call? Contact our law offices 24/7, we always have staff available to help. It is never too soon to call an attorney after a car accident. However, it can be too late to seek legal help due to strict filing deadlines.
Call Schmidt Kramer today to discuss your legal options. (717) 727-1403