Let’s talk about signals. Not those subtle little signals that your wife sends that we’re not very good at picking up on. Real common signals that most people either do or should know. Let’s start with a turn signal. These indicators let others know if you are going to make a turn or sometimes, it’s something like an alert that you are about to change lanes. The reason for the clarification is that, often when I turn on my turn signal in the hope of changing lanes on a 4 lane highway, the vehicle with the open gap in front of it, sees my signal as an invitation to gun-it and close that gap. This is especially true when the vehicle in question is a jacked up 4 wheel drive pickup. And yes, we own a truck like that. Some guys can’t handle the humiliation of having an SUV in front of them. And if you let someone move over into your lane, you’ve already lost so hang your head in shame.
It really bugs me when I’m riding my motorcycle and waiting to pull out onto a road when a vehicle is slowing down, even inching over giving an indication they might turn right before they get to me. Then, with no signal whatsoever, they turn right. On a motorcycle, you don’t dare pull out by assuming they are going to turn. I could have already gone if you’d used your turn signal but if you guess wrong when making that assumption you pay the price. I have found that when I verbally let them know they “missed an opportunity” to use their turn signal, they can actually hear very well outside of my helmet when they’ve got their window open.
The other signal involves making a fist and extending just the middle finger with the back of your hand facing the recipient. I was driving to the Fred Nats stadium on Saturday when a white Camry drifted right into my lane narrowly missing my car. I gave a little honk-of-the-horn just to let him know he’d drifted into my path. To my surprise, the driver immediately pulled in behind me and laid on the horn as we both proceeded toward the stadium and convention center. My dilemma was whether or not to extend that hand signal out of the sunroof. Flipping the bird is basically an F-bomb on a stick but I decided not to since I was within a block of the gun show. Not the best place to flip someone off.
Turn signals can also be used to indicate your desire to merge. Merging is a process where vehicles from 2 different lanes of traffic come together as one. It doesn’t happen often since it does require taking turns. A concept lost on some motorists. Also, if someone does pause and allow you to merge, in some countries it has become a custom to give a brief wave of thanks. It doesn’t often happen here but I’m told it does happen.
Years ago, I heard a suggestion that I loved where drivers would be given dart guns that fired projectiles that would stick to the cars of other idiot drivers. If the cops saw you with 3 or more idiot darts sticking to your car, they could pull you over just for being a nuisance. I loved that plan but someone pointed out waving firearms (even plastic ones) out the windows of your car may be a bad practice. So, what have we learned today? Turn signals mean nothing, stand your ground and if you do see a turn signal, floor it and make sure you close that gap before that other car makes you look bad.