It is estimated that one to two million automobile accidents could be prevented each year if drivers properly used turn signals. A report conducted by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) found startling results pertaining to automobile accidents and safety: a failure to use turn signals causes millions of crashes per year, and may possibly be more dangerous than distracted driving. The U.S. Department of Transportation reports approximately 950,000 automobile accidents per year are the result of distracted or inattentive drivers, while the SAE reports two million crashes per year are a direct result of turn signal neglect.
The SAE surveyed 12,000 lane-changing and turning vehicles. The SAE concluded that 25 percent of drivers neglected to properly utilize their turn signals when turning, while 48 percent of drivers failed to do so when changing lanes.
Pennsylvania Traffic Related Law
Section 3334 of the Pennsylvania Code requires drivers to use turn signals at least 100 feet in advance when driving at speeds of 35 mph or less, and 300 feet in advance at speeds of 35 mph or greater. Additionally, drivers are required to use turn signals prior to re-entering traffic when parked on the street. Violators are subject to a $109.50 fine for signal neglect.
Turn Signal Neglect in Snowy Conditions
Bad weather impacts roadway activity, traffic flow, and operational decisions. In general, visibility impairment, precipitation, and high winds affect driver capabilities and vehicle performance. Specifically, snow or sleet affects speed limit and traffic signal timing (without human errors considered, yet), according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Approximately 168,300 crashes occur each year in snow or sleet weather conditions, equating to 15 percent of all weather-related accidents.
As snow blankets the States during this tremulous and hard hitting winter season, driver safety is vital. When it is snowing, following too closely behind, speeding, and slamming your brakes all affect your timing and ability to stop your vehicle. Snowy weather conditions alone can cause car crashes. And, when coupled with human error, the results can be deadly.
Potential Manufacturer Solution
The SAE recommends the implementation of the Smart Turn Signal, a computerized system to be installed in all vehicles by all car manufacturers. The system would prompt a message on the vehicle’s control panel whenever the driver fails to use a turn signal, informing the driver of their failure. Such a system is very similar to driver and passenger seat belt warnings. The Smart Turn Signal system would actually be simpler and less expensive than the current mechanical trip mechanism, because the system would use the same sensors employed in current vehicles. Furthermore, the currently used turn signal trip mechanism will be removed, thereby saving weight and space inside vehicles. Anecdotal evidence also suggests a higher police enforcement regarding turn signal use.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an automobile accident, contact our experienced Pennsylvania automobile accident attorneys to secure the best outcome in your case. Contact our office at (215) 481 – 9979 for a confidential consultation to discuss your case.