While some claim to be able to, it’s not possible to read the minds of other people. That’s why our cars have turn signals, also known as directionals and blinkers. So, we can communicate with other drivers when we plan to turn or change lanes, and conversely, know when others will do the same.
At least, that’s the theory.
Using Your Turn Signal
Massachusetts drivers are notoriously bad about using their turn signals, and we’re not alone. In a national survey, 57% of drivers admitted they don’t signal. Their reasoning ran the gamut from lack of time to sheer laziness, but the most frightening explanation was that not signaling “adds excitement to driving.”
Unfortunately, they’re mistaking excitement for danger. The Society for Automotive Engineers found that turn signal neglect was responsible for more than two times as many crashes as distracted driving.
Proper signaling to other drivers is the law in Massachusetts. We complain about people who don’t use their signals at all, but what about the people who use them, but incorrectly?
We’ve all shared the road with someone who’s cruising along, seemingly oblivious to the fact that their blinker is going. Maybe you’ve even been that person once or twice. Maybe you’ve been in an unfamiliar place and you indicate that you’re about to turn, only to realize that it’s the next intersection you want.
These are all innocent enough situations, but they have the potential to cause a car crash. Here’s a scenario. You’re waiting for a break in oncoming traffic so you can make a left turn. Finally, a car indicates they’re turning right, so you make your turn. But instead of going right, they continue straight, T-boning your passenger side.
Or maybe you’re at a stop sign, waiting to turn right onto a busy road. Again, a driver signals a right turn, so you pull forward to merge. They continue straight and hit your driver’s side.
So Who’s at Fault?
Who is at fault for these car accidents? Most people would guess the other driver. After all, they signaled incorrectly and misled you. You wouldn’t have pulled out into traffic if they hadn’t indicated they were turning.
However, the fact that they misused their turn signal does not give you the right of way. Our clients are often surprised to learn that they could be found at fault for entering the intersection at a time when it was unsafe to do so. Massachusetts law states that when turning left, you must give oncoming traffic the right of way until it is safe to turn.
The same is true in our stop sign example. Cars at stop signs are legally required to yield the right of way to cars that don’t have stop signs. The law makes no mention of using turn signals to determine the right of way.
Stay Safe on the Roads
This may seem annoying and unfair. But remember: the most important thing is to stay safe on the road. If that means not trusting that another driver will turn until they are committed to turning, so be it. Waiting a few seconds longer at an intersection beats getting hit or getting hurt.
Side impact collisions can be the most dangerous. If the front or back of your car is hit, your bumpers and engine compartment can absorb some of the force of the crash. If your car is T-boned or hit from the side, however, there might only be a door and window between the other car and your body. For this reason, passenger-side collisions often result in the most serious injuries.
In T-bone accidents, we frequently see bone fractures, internal injuries, spinal cord injuries, and traumatic brain injuries. Side impact airbags help protect you, but they can also cause ear injuries and even permanent hearing damage.
A Worcester Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You
You may be facing grave injuries and large medical bills if you’ve been involved in a car crash like this. We can help you fight to get the settlement you need to start rebuilding your life.
With right-of-way laws stacked against you, you need an expert car accident attorney on your side. Please contact us right away to start your free initial consultation.