Many high-tech safety mechanisms are integrated into the cars we drive to help keep us safe. In fact, late model cars are tricked out with all kinds of bells and whistles, but most of us give very little thought to our old-fashioned turn signals. Your car’s blinkers are low-tech safety workhorses that have been around for nearly a century, and they’re there for a reason: to let other motorists know what you plan to do. Turn signals aren’t as glamorous as some of our car’s other safety features, but they can help save lives—if drivers bother to use them. As easy as flipping our signals on and off is, however, many drivers simply don’t take the time to do it, and this decision not to share one’s intention to change lanes, take an exit, or turn is closely associated with serious car accidents and injuries. When you get behind the wheel and head out on the open road, embrace your turn signals—your safety could depend on it.
Failure to Signal
Studies about distracted driving abound, and distracted driving causes extremely dangerous accidents. Failure-to-signal accidents, however, don’t get as much press. A comprehensive 2012 study by the Society of Automotive Engineers International succinctly highlights the dangers associated with not using turn signals when making turns and changing lanes. The most startling of its findings is that this failure to signal can lead to even more car accidents than distracted driving, and that’s saying something. The degree to which a driver’s inattentiveness to turn signals is caused by distracted driving, however, isn’t factored into the SAE’s study.
If a driver who failed to signal injured you, consult with a Chicago car accident attorney. Your rights and your rightful compensation matter. The legal team at the law firm of Abels & Annes in Chicago is committed to helping you guide your claim toward its just resolution.
Rear-End Collisions and Distracted Driving
Because distracted driving is so prevalent and because it factors into so many kinds of accidents, including failure-to-signal accidents, it’s important to take a closer look. Distracted driving, according to, distraction.org is any driving in which the motorist’s focus concentrates on anything other than the task of safe driving.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), rear-end collisions constitute almost 30 percent of car accidents—and distracted driving plays a critical role in most of them. Generally, these collisions involve a forward vehicle that is either moving slowly or is stopped when the crash occurs, and the DOT estimates that nearly 90 percent of these accidents are associated with some form of distracted driving. In other words, distracted driving is elemental to our road’s most common collisions, rear-end accidents.
Failure to Signal and Rear-End Accidents
Drivers who don’t engage their signals when they plan to change lanes or turn are far more likely to contribute to rear-end accidents. While Illinois law incorporates the presumption that the motorist who rear-ends another car is to blame, it leaves room for rebuttal. This is especially relevant when the rear-ended motorist didn’t appropriately signal driving intentions.
Rear-end accidents can happen anywhere, including in a parking lot, on a sleepy residential street, or on a high-speed interstate. Rear-end collisions are often caused by either distracted drivers or drivers who fail to signal their intent regarding lane changes and turns—such as by:
- Suddenly changing driving lanes (without signaling)
- Driving through road construction, hazardous road conditions, or detours
- Driving on faulty or balding tires
- Not allowing sufficient braking distance between vehicles
- Driving into a car pileup on the road
To avoid rear-end accidents, drivers must allow plenty of time to detect and account for the deceleration of preceding traffic. Forward traffic that brakes suddenly—without appropriate signaling—can catch approaching drivers unaware. When you’re behind the wheel, always allow plenty of braking distance between your vehicle and those vehicles that you follow.
Tried and True
Turn signals aren’t glamorous or high-tech, but they do save lives. When you’re driving in traffic’s flow, they’re the only safety mechanism available to signal your driving intentions, which can mean the difference between driving safely to your destination and a failure-to-signal accident. When you engage your blinkers, you let the drivers around you know your plans, which allows them to accommodate your intentions. When you get behind the wheel, make signaling your intent to change lanes and turn a safety priority.
If Failure-to-Signal Accident Injured You, Consult a Chicago Car Accident Lawyer Today
Engaging a turn signal is such a simple mechanism for avoiding accidents. Other drivers who can’t bother to let you know their plans can seem especially callous and negligent.
If you suffered an injury because of another driver’s failure to signal, seek legal counsel. The dedicated legal team at the law firm of Abels & Annes in Chicago understands what you’re going through, and we’re here to help. Your rights matter and our car accident attorneys are prepared to aggressively advocate for those rights and for your rightful compensation. Please contact us or call our office at (312) 924-7575 for a free consultation today.