Here’s the deal. Over the past six months, I’ve done an informal study. It turns out that 61% of people who are driving in front of me do not know how to properly operate their turn signals.
We have a lot of traffic in Los Angeles. But, unlike other big cities, the drivers here tend to be less aggressive. A more mellow group. So laid back, in fact, that they often over-relax and slow down and make turns without necessarily letting everyone behind them know that this had been their plan all along. We’re mellow, but we’re self-obsessed – and it’s about time we thought about the drivers that aren’t us…it’s time to start signaling.
So, let’s review.
If you’re going to be piloting a motor vehicle, it is highly unlikely that you will be able to get where you need to go without turning to either the left or right at some point in time. Therefore, it will behoove us all to learn how to properly utilize our blinkers.
Step one, locate the lever on the left side of your steering column. Found it? Good.
Step two, to signal a left turn, apply gentle pressure to the lever in a downward fashion. If, however, you desire a turn to the right, you will need to push the lever upward.
Do not be alarmed by the small, flashing green arrow that will now appear on your dashboard. Similarly, do not concern yourself with the soft clicking sound. These are merely indications of a job well done. That’s right, friend, you’ve just successfully used your turn signals. Congratulations.
It’s not hard to do.
And it’s so much more effective than the choice of drivers I encounter – simply veering suddenly to the right or left. I’m not a prognosticator. Let me know where you’re planning to go. If you’re at someone’s house for the first time and need to use the restroom, you don’t just suddenly run off in search of a bathroom without telling anyone (unless you’re really in need of a restroom). No, you ask if you might use the facilities and then proceed in the correct direction. This social nicety is you using your interpersonal blinkers – I’m merely requesting that you have the same manners while driving.
So, how am I going to do it? How will I defeat the inconsiderate drivers who turn without warning? First, I need to get us all to agree that it’s probably best to minimize surprises while driving. If you’re planning a surprise party, you ought not all hide in the backseat of the birthday boy’s car and then jump out and yell “Surprise!” while he’s merging on to the freeway. You know that can of peanuts that is actually a coiled, spring snake waiting to pop out at the unlucky sap who’s looking for a snack? You probably shouldn’t hand that to Grandma while she’s passing that semi. And you probably shouldn’t weave in and out of traffic like a drunk Etch-a-Sketcher without alerting your fellow drivers to your impending lateral movements.
I beg of you, oh, hard-headed commuters, hear my plea. In the past, you’ve turned a blind eye to the other drivers you’ve infuriated. You’ve turned a deaf ear to their cries of outrage. You’ve turned up your nose at the laws you think don’t apply to you. But it’s never too late to turn over a new leaf. And, what with all the turning you’ve been doing – just use your *#!%#8$!&# signal.