Grimes & Fertitta, P.C.

Despite clear Texas traffic laws, many drivers don't use blinkers

Drivers who don't use their blinkers regularly increase the risk to everyone else on the road. Blinkers, also known as turn indicators or turn signals, serve a critical purpose for communicating with other drivers, as well as pedestrians and those on bikes.

When you approach other vehicles in traffic, understanding their intentions is critical to planning your own responses and route. If you don't know what another driver intends to do, how can you possibly make a safe and informed decision?

Unfortunately, despite being legally required, blinkers rarely get used as intended. Instead, people tend to only use them if they notice law enforcement officers nearby or at intersections where they know there are traffic cameras.

Failing to indicate a turn can lead to critical traffic mistakes

Whether you approach other vehicles at a stoplight or a stop sign, you need to know what they plan to do before you can safely proceed through the intersection. When people don't indicate that they intend to turn, you may assume that they will drive straight through an intersection.

That can lead people to believe that they can make a turn, as their path should not intersect with the person who did not use a blinker, only to realize that that person is, in fact, executing a turn. In other words, not using a turn signal can directly lead to collisions.

Under current Texas law, anyone driving on public roadways must use their turn signal or blinker for at least the last hundred feet when approaching a place where they intend to turn. Although lawmakers have eyed changing these rules to allow people to bypass the use of the blinker in designated turn lanes, at this time, it is still law for every driver to always use a turn signal to let others in traffic know of their intentions.

Witnesses and traffic cameras can prove someone didn't use a blinker

People who openly violate traffic laws endanger other people on the roads. Their decisions can result in crashes that cause extensive property damage, significant personal injury or even fatalities. When the crash is the result of one driver failing to use a blinker and another driver misinterpreting that person's intentions, the person who failed to use the blinker will likely be primarily at fault for the crash that results.

However, since people understand there is a legal obligation to use their turn signals, drivers could intentionally lie to law enforcement or the courts about their driving habits and use of the blinker. Thankfully, traffic cameras make it easier than ever before to confirm how another person drove in the moments leading up to a crash.

It may also be possible to talk to people who witnessed the collision and have them verify your version of events. If you believe that improper driving practices or law-breaking directly contributed to a crash that hurt you or someone you love, you may want to sit down with a Texas attorney to talk about your rights in the near future.

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