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Altamonte Springs Police Department
Wednesday November 24th, 2010 :: 09:43 a.m. EST


Turn Signals Are Not For Decoration! See email for full story.

Happy Thanksgiving Nixle family! As we gather with friends and family this week many words of thanks will be expressed around the dinner table. Perhaps though there is one statement of thanks that surely will not be spoken of. Yes indeed if ever there was a sure bet this must be it, for surely no one will say, “I am thankful for the majority of motorists who properly use their turn signals!”

It’s been a while since we’ve played final jeopardy so if your game here are the stakes: Answer the question right and treat yourself to an extra piece of pumpkin pie and wash it down with a glass of rich and delicious egg nog (may be substituted for your favorite beverage); however if you get it wrong you must clean up all the dishes while the rest of the family watches the Dallas Cowboys win victoriously! Here we go: The inventor of the turn signal worked in what profession? A.) Engineering B.) Scientist C.) Automobile Mechanic or D.) Hollywood Movie Star. You have thirty seconds to make your selection, ten seconds, five – four – three – two – one, times up! If you selected A, B, or C may I suggest a good pair of rubber gloves to avoid your hands from getting all wrinkly with all those dishes. If you answered “D” most likely you used Google and are disqualified. Yes believe it or not Hollywood actress Florence Lawrence is credited with first inventing the turn signal in 1913. However it would take another 26 years before Buick became the first manufacturer to implement turn signals as standard equipment on their vehicles.

A recent survey conducted by a major insurance company discovered over 50 percent of motorists on the road DO NOT use their turn signal. Why don’t drivers take advantage of an invention capable of safely warning other drivers of their intentions while operating a two ton object? The most common excuse given was
"I don't have enough time." Are you serious? How can you not have enough time to flip a lever, WOW! Next most popular excuse “I’m lazy.” While I appreciate their honesty these drivers scare the bageebies out of me (I don’t think I’ve ever used the word bageebies – but it seemed to fit here). Other excuses topping the list included “Because I forget to turn it off", "I change lanes too frequently to bother.” "Don't think it's important" and finally "Because others don't.”

Let’s take a look at what Florida State Statute 316.155 requires of drivers in regards to using a turn signal. Drivers who turn a vehicle from a direct course or move right or left upon a highway (when you change lanes you are moving right or left) must use the appropriate turn signal in the event any other vehicle may be affected by the movement – with the heavy congested roads of Central Florida most likely a turn will affect another motorist. A signal of intention to turn right or left must be given continuously during not less than the last 100 feet traveled by the vehicle before turning. Failure to properly use a turn signal in Seminole County is punishable by a fine of $166 and 3 points assessed against your driving record.

Turn signals are used world wide as a measure of safety in alerting other drivers of your intentions while driving down a road. As the New Year quickly approaches perhaps we can all add a new resolution to the top of the list of making a better effort to use our turn signals in the interest of roadway safety.

Altamonte Springs Police Department
175 Newburyport Ave
Altamonte Springs, FL 32701

Emergency: 9-1-1
Non-emergencies: 407-339-2441

Lt Darin Farber
COPS Section

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