Jerry Schlund | Using your blinker: required or optional?


Question: Jerry, I want to ask about people who don’t signal when they move to another lane or turning. I see it all the time and there must be some kind of law that says that you have to signal. 

— Joann 

Answer: Hi Joann, and thanks for your question. You bet there are laws regarding signaling. I have taken numerous traffic reports at the scenes of traffic collisions whereby improper signaling was the primary cause.  

California Vehicle Code section 22108cvc is short and to the point: “Any signal of intention to turn right or left shall be given continuously during the last 100 feet traveled by the vehicle before turning.”                     

How about when changing lanes? According to 22107cvc, “No person shall turn a vehicle from a direct course or move right or left upon a roadway until such movement can be made with reasonable safety and then only after the giving of an appropriate signal, in the event any other vehicle may be affected by the movement.”  

So, let’s explain that. 

Changing lanes and not signaling, in the absence of any other traffic present, may not necessarily be a violation. The vehicle code reads: “An appropriate signal is required in the event any other vehicle may be affected by the movement.” In the absence of vehicles to be affected, having to signal may not apply. But don’t count on it. 

Signaling properly is always best for the defensive driver to ensure safety. Traffic or no traffic, to signal is always best and a good habit to get into. Signaling about three to five seconds prior to changing direction or moving to another lane is a great rule of thumb.  

Those who don’t signal properly, or not at all, are subject to receiving an expensive citation. So, signal every time, and drive carefully.  

Jerry Schlund, a Santa Clarita Valley resident, is a retired Los Angeles Police Department motor officer with over 24 years riding. He was a certified radar instructor — both laser and doppler — and was instrumental in California vehicle code amendments. He was a traffic school instructor for 25 years. Have a question for the motor cop? Send your questions to [email protected]. 

Related To This Story

Latest NEWS