We all remember the experience of first learning to drive. You couldn’t wait to get on the road, so you quickly learned the driving rules to show your parents you were prepared to take your driving test. When the day of your road test finally arrived, you dutifully went through the prescribed paces, making sure to use turn signals so the test administrator would evaluate you as a safe, reliable driver. But when a driver’s license was placed in your eager hands that seemed to be the end of any need for turn signals. Or so says a survey conducted in August 2005 by Response Insurance, a national car insurer.
According to the National Driving Habits Survey, fifty-seven percent of American drivers admit they don’t use turn signals when changing lanes. The numbers revealed men as the main culprits: sixty-two percent of men don’t use signals when changing lanes, while only fifty-three percent of the women who responded admitted the same. Drivers in the 18 to 24 demographic lead the pack with seventy-one percent failing to signal. Only forty-nine percent of drivers in the 55 to 64 age group admitted to this behavior.
Despite their shared behavior, respondents admitting to non-use of turn signals often shared different reasons for this pattern. The researchers categorized drivers into groups based on their rationale for ignoring the use of signals:
- Impulsive: At forty-two percent, this category represented the largest group of guilty drivers. Their reason for ignoring the use of signals is a whimsical approach to lane changing, doing so whenever the mood strikes them. They feel they don’t have enough time to both predict and then signal their impending lane change.
- Lazy: Accounting for twenty-three percent of non-signaling drivers, this group couldn’t offer any reason other than honest laziness for failing to signal a lane change.
- Forgetful: Seventeen percent of respondents fit this description; these drivers said they don’t use a turn signal because they forget to turn it off after the lane change.
- Swervers: The zigzagging twelve percent in this category admitted they spend their time on the road constantly changing lanes. Their lane changes are so frequent, they felt they would be continually turning signals on and off.
- Ostriches: The eleven percent in this group believe signaling is simply not an important act when changing lanes.
- Followers: This category had eight percent of the guilty respondents; they believe when other drivers don’t signal, they shouldn’t have to either.
- Dare Devils: The smallest number of drivers fell into this category. Seven percent of those who don’t signal said this style of driving adds excitement to driving.