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Thread: Turn signal: asking permission or issuing a warning?

  1. #1
    Resident optimist OldRightHander's Avatar
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    Turn signal: asking permission or issuing a warning?

    I had this discussion the other day with a passenger. What prompted it was a situation where I put my turn signal on for a lane change, took a look at the other lane, and went on over. The fellow in the other lane who started speeding up when I signaled resented the fact that I actually came over and he followed up with a flurry of hand gestures and no doubt spoken invective that I didn't hear. The passenger commented that he sure looked angry and I replied, "He has no right to be. I told him I was coming."

    For the next ten minutes we had a discussion on driving etiquette and the proper use of the turn signal, with one question coming up. When you put your signal on, are you telling people that you are coming, or are you asking their permission to come over? I know there is a fine line between how that plays out on the road, but how do you see it? To me, when I put the blinker on, I am telling you what is about to happen, and it will happen with or without your blessing. I am not saying that I'd kind of like to come into that lane, but that I actually am coming into that lane and it's on you to prepare accordingly. I'm not going to blindly move over and hit someone, but I'm not going to sit there for a mile waiting on someone to let me over either. When there's a gap, I'm coming, and since you were warned in advance, any resentment you feel is unwarranted. How do you see it?
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  4. #2
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    Re: Turn signal: asking permission or issuing a warning?

    I think the line is if other person has to speed up to make it close then they are at fault, and are a Richard. However, if they are going cruising speed and you're getting over forces them to slow down then you should wait, and see if they let you in.

    Now, when first merging onto the interstate this is probably a little different, as you need to get in, and people should let you merge.

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    Make America Stupid Again RFS62's Avatar
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    Re: Turn signal: asking permission or issuing a warning?

    It's a notice, and I guess a warning, that I'm changing lanes. They should be happy, as so many drivers don't do the courtesy of a signal. If he speeded up to keep you pinned in behind the person you're passing, he's a tool.

    If I'm making someone else slow down to allow me over, which I never do, that would be different. Their salute would be justified.

    A far bigger problem is the dip**** who cruises in the left lane and forces people to pass on the right.

    Stay the hell out of the left lane if you aren't passing someone.
    Is it solipsistic in here, or is it just me?

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    Re: Turn signal: asking permission or issuing a warning?

    In between. Generally, it's more like "this is what I'm planning to do", but obviously I still need an opening. Now, in a case where you get stuck behind a broken down car or something along those lines, it can be asking for permission. Something along the lines of "please, oh, please let me in".

  8. #5
    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: Turn signal: asking permission or issuing a warning?

    I would say using your turn signal is telling people you are going to turn. Now, it's up to the driver of the car who is turning to make sure they can turn/merge cleanly and not ramming their way in there.
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  9. #6
    Flash the leather! _Sir_Charles_'s Avatar
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    Re: Turn signal: asking permission or issuing a warning?

    Using the turn signal doesn't mean you can then turn. It's simply a way of alerting other drivers of your intent. Still up to you as to making sure you can safely because you've always got to be aware of the idiots out there wanting to play pole position.

    I'm not sure how it is in Ohio anymore, but since I've been here in Texas ('86) I've noticed that I rarely see people even use turn signals. Drives me nuts. My wife does it too. We're currently teaching my oldest daughter (learners permit) and I'm stressing the heck out of the turn signal.

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  11. #7
    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: Turn signal: asking permission or issuing a warning?

    Quote Originally Posted by _Sir_Charles_ View Post
    I'm not sure how it is in Ohio anymore, but since I've been here in Texas ('86) I've noticed that I rarely see people even use turn signals. Drives me nuts. My wife does it too. We're currently teaching my oldest daughter (learners permit) and I'm stressing the heck out of the turn signal.
    It's pretty bad here and it annoys the heck out of me.
    Quote Originally Posted by Raisor View Post
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raisor View Post
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  12. #8
    Overton Window Breaker WrongVerb's Avatar
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    Re: Turn signal: asking permission or issuing a warning?

    Quote Originally Posted by NeilHamburger View Post
    I think the line is if other person has to speed up to make it close then they are at fault, and are a Richard. However, if they are going cruising speed and you're getting over forces them to slow down then you should wait, and see if they let you in.

    Now, when first merging onto the interstate this is probably a little different, as you need to get in, and people should let you merge.
    When entering the highway, drivers in the thru lanes are under no obligation to let you merge in, as you have a yield sign (or a stop sign in some areas). In fact, drivers in thru lanes slowing down is one of the things that leads to congestion.

    As for whether the turn signal itself is asking permission or issuing a warning, I think Chip said it best: it's a signal of intent, but still up to the driver to be sure he can execute that intended maneuver cleanly.
    Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes. -- Mahatma Gandhi

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    Overton Window Breaker WrongVerb's Avatar
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    Re: Turn signal: asking permission or issuing a warning?

    Quote Originally Posted by RFS62 View Post
    It's a notice, and I guess a warning, that I'm changing lanes. They should be happy, as so many drivers don't do the courtesy of a signal. If he speeded up to keep you pinned in behind the person you're passing, he's a tool.

    If I'm making someone else slow down to allow me over, which I never do, that would be different. Their salute would be justified.

    A far bigger problem is the dip**** who cruises in the left lane and forces people to pass on the right.

    Stay the hell out of the left lane if you aren't passing someone.
    Rule of thumb for every driver: If you're unable or unwilling to keep up with the car in front of you, move right. If it's a single direction lane each way, move over and let the cars that have stacked up behind you to go past.
    Freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes. -- Mahatma Gandhi

  15. #10
    Member Redsfaithful's Avatar
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    Re: Turn signal: asking permission or issuing a warning?

    What is the deal with people speeding up to block lane changes anyway? I see it all the time.

    I sound old here, but driving seems to be getting worse, and I think it really actually is (not just me aging) because of phones and distractions. I drove 15 minutes yesterday and saw 4 near accidents. I need to get a dash cam.
    "For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." - H. L. Mencken

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  17. #11
    Danger is my business! oneupper's Avatar
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    Re: Turn signal: asking permission or issuing a warning?

    Turn signal = intent. I don't see it as a warning. Also good etiquette. People have stopped doing it when making a right hand turn or exiting a highway.
    It's kind of nice for the rest of to know what you are planning on doing and react accordingly.

    And yes, GET OFF THE PHONE. I counted the other day and approximately half the cars that passed me as I was walking were either texting or talking. It was about 60-40 women/men. And agreed RF. Lots of accidents, particularly of the really dumb kind.
    "A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it."

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  18. #12
    Sprinkles are for winners dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Turn signal: asking permission or issuing a warning?

    Quote Originally Posted by Redsfaithful View Post
    I need to get a dash cam.
    We all need to get them. You just missed a sale on one over at Amazon earlier this week. Highly rated and was under $90 for full HD.

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  20. #13
    Be the ball Roy Tucker's Avatar
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    Re: Turn signal: asking permission or issuing a warning?

    I'd call it a letter of intent. As on "I see a gap, that's where I'm going, and I'm making the assumption you will continue at your current state and speed".

    If they choose to be an ass about it, that's on them. Gesture all you want. I'm there now.

    And when he feels the world is closing in
    He turns his stereo way up high

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  22. #14
    Be the ball Roy Tucker's Avatar
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    Re: Turn signal: asking permission or issuing a warning?

    I do see the behavior where someone is dawdling along and opens a gap, I see it and out on my signal to go before I actually do it, they see the blinker and go all Indy 500 and speed up to close that door. Heavens knows, they may get one car behind in the game of life! But I don't intimidate easily and I just go and activate my imaginary rear-facing machine guns and reduce them to a bloody pulp.

    And when he feels the world is closing in
    He turns his stereo way up high

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  24. #15
    Sprinkles are for winners dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Turn signal: asking permission or issuing a warning?

    It's a little bit of both. I put on my turn signal to let everyone know that I plan on getting over, but I'm also not going to cut someone off simply because they should have known I was coming over because my signal was on. Life is to short for that kind of stuff. I've got all of the time in the world to get where I'm going, even when I'm frustrated as I can possibly be because the people in front of me are slow. I've got time to wait for the next opening that is a little better for getting into the other lane.


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