Use and abuse of turn signals: 6 lessons from the latest DGT campaign

Use and abuse of turn signals: 6 lessons from the latest DGT campaign

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The turn signals remain one of the pending lessons, according to the General Directorate of Traffic, for Spanish drivers. It is enough to circulate through any city or highway to verify that there are still drivers who do not signal correctly some maneuvers, using the optical signaling colloquially known as intermittent and to which the General Circulation Regulation referred to as direction indicator lights.

For this article we will refer to them by their colloquial name, that of intermittent. Which is precisely the one that the DGT itself has also used in its latest awareness campaign, called “A thousand ways to tell you Use the Turn Signals”.

The DGT has resorted to a claim as helpful as that of artificial intelligence to carry out this campaign and claims to have generated a thousand images, with an artificial intelligence that could presumably be DALL.E 2 or similar.

The DGT recalls how direction indicator lights should be used, colloquially known as intermittent

Honestly, this claim is unnecessary for us. But it is worth remembering that the DGT has enabled a microsite on your website to promote the campaign, which has also reminded us 6 situations in which turn signals should be used. A very brief summary of situations that is limited to defining the following, regarding the Situations in which turn signals should be used:

  1. In turns and changes of direction.
  2. In overtaking and lane changes.
  3. When exiting roundabouts. At this point it should have been added that also when changing lanes in a roundabout and that they should never be used neither when accessing, nor to indicate that we are going to continue circulating through it.
  4. In additions.
  5. When stopping or parking.
  6. Whenever you consider it appropriate so that other drivers can predict your actions.
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This last point can also be somewhat controversial. And it is that the turn signals should not be used in any situation in which the driver considers it, probably due to a misunderstanding of the regulations, or a bad habit that arose during learning. For example, the cases that we previously specified of roundabouts, in which the turn signals should not be used to signal access, nor should the left turn signal be used to indicate that we are going to take the last exit or that we are going to continue circulating through it.

What the Regulation says about the use of turn signals

In the General Circulation Regulation Article 109 refers precisely to the use of turn signals in the following terms:

Article 109. Optical warnings. 1. The driver must warn by means of optical signals any maneuver that implies a lateral displacement or to the rear of your vehicle, as well as its purpose of immobilizing it or significantly slowing it down. Such optical warnings will be made sufficiently in advance of the start of the manoeuvre, and, if they are luminous, they will remain in operation until the maneuver ends.

2. For the purposes of the previous section, the following must also be taken into account:

a) Lateral displacement will be warned using the direction indicator light corresponding to the side towards which it is going to be carried out.or the arm, in a horizontal position with the palm of the hand extended downwards, if the movement is going to be to the side indicated by the hand, or bent upwards, also with the palm of the hand extended, if it is going to be to the contrary.

In maneuvers involving lateral movement, this is the only one that is warned, so the warning must end as soon as the vehicle has adopted its new trajectory.

When the immobilization takes place on a highway or motorway, or in places or circumstances that significantly reduce visibility, the presence of the vehicle must be signaled by using the emergency light, if available, and, where appropriate, with position lights.

If the immobilization is carried out to stop or park, the direction indicator light corresponding to the side towards which the immobilization is to be carried out must also be used.if the vehicle has such a device.

We recommend reading our article on the use of turn signals, on how we suffer from misuse and how we can correct it, and also how and why misuse of turn signals can cost us a fine.

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