Maybe you've asked yourself: What is the big deal about a turn signal? Is it hard to find? Difficult to use? Why is it that 57 percent of drivers say they don't use one?
Won't-use-a-signal drivers are shameless, according to a national survey by Response Insurance, a national car insurer.
• 23 percent say they're too lazy.
• 42 percent say they don't have enough time.
• 17 percent don't signal because they forget to turn the signals off after turning.
• 12 percent say they change lanes too often to bother.
• 11 percent say it's not important.
• 8 percent say they won't signal because other drivers don't.
• 7 percent actually say they forego the signal because it "adds excitement to driving."
(The total exceeds 100 percent because some drivers picked more than one reason.)
"Most drivers are failing to see the importance of using their turn signals," said Mory Katz, chairman and CEO of the insurance company. "But they are doing so at their own peril - and the peril of others - since their unanticipated actions cause crashes."
The survey also found that men are more likely not to signal when they change lanes (62 percent vs. 53 percent) as are drivers 18 to 24. Seventy-one percent of that age group says they do not signal, compared with 49 percent of adults 55 to 64.
The survey polled 1,000 adults and has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.
Parents can be
If you're like many parents who drive their kids to school, you may be contributing to traffic hazards in the drop-off zone. Parents often double park or stop in crosswalks as they wait for their children, blocking visibility for children and other motorists.
Here are some suggestions:
Always pull up to the curb, on the same side of the street as the school.
Never stop in moving traffic to let kids out of the car.
Kids should exit the car on the curb side, never in the street.
Comply with the speed limit in school zones. Parents too often drive 10 mph faster than the posted speed limit, putting children in danger.
Never block a school bus, even if your child misses his or her ride.
Don't drive beside the bus, honking the horn and waving frantically for the driver to stop so you can deliver a forgotten lunch or homework.
If you must drive your kids to or from school, these suggestions may help minimize traffic hazards for all kids:
Carpool to reduce the number of cars at the school or bus stop.
Request that the school set up a special pick-up and drop-off area.
If there is no such area, arrange a specific place to pick up your children - on the same side of the street as the school or away from congestion.
Ask school officials to dismiss children who ride in cars a little later than those who walk, bike or ride school buses.
Conditional license available for seniors
If you fail to pass your state DMV driver's license test, you may go back and seek a conditional or restricted driver's license.
To start the process, you must fill out a Request for Driver Examination form (DS 699A), which is available in any DMV field office or on the DMV Internet Web site at www.dmv.ca.gov. On the form, you can explain why you feel the need for a conditional or restricted driver's license.
If the DMV grants a re-examination, you will need to pass a vision test and a behind-the-wheel test.
Tips for seniors'
Be sure to get regular eye exams. See your eye doctor at least once every two years. Many eye problems can be corrected if detected early. Cataracts are common and can be corrected with surgery.
While driving, turn your head frequently to compensate for diminished peripheral vision.
If you have trouble with night vision or glare, limit driving to daytime hours.
Keep headlights, mirrors and windshield clean.
Add a larger rearview mirror to increase the range of visibility.
Keep your eyes up - look ahead to see trouble before you reach it. In the city, look one block ahead. On the highway, look where you will be in 20 to 30 seconds.
Age may lengthen the time it takes the brain to process information and to react. It may help to:
Leave more room in front of the car - follow at a greater distance.
Avoid left turns if you are uncomfortable.