Forget distracted driving. A new study shows that there’s a far greater roadway hazard responsible for over two million accidents per year.

Travelling on South African roads can be a scary experience for any road user, particularly when motorists carelessly disobey the rules of the road, displaying reckless and dangerous driving habits. A research study conducted by the Society of Automotive Engineers has shown that indicating when changing lanes or turning is not considered a priority anymore. According to the study, drivers either neglect to use their indicators when changing lines or fail to turn their indicators off – 48% of the time. And when making a turn, the failure rate is around 25%. That works out to 2 billion times a day that drivers fail to use signals, or 750 billion times annually.

But why do motorists not use their indicators? A study conducted by Response Insurance reveals that 57% of drivers admitted that they don’t use their turn signals:

  • 42% of drivers surveyed said they don’t have enough time
  • 23% admit they’re just plain lazy
  • 17% said they don’t use signal because when they do, they forget to turn them off
  • 12% said they change lanes too frequently to bother
  • 11% said it’s not important
  • 8% said they don’t signal because other drivers don’t
  • 7% said that not indicating adds excitement to driving

One day, we may see indicators that switch on by themselves whenever we make a turn or switch lanes. However, for now, this technology is not readily available. Until then, follow these simple guidelines and teach yourself to use your indicators.

    • Use a turn signal every time:  Make signaling a habit, it’s as easy as flipping a lever.  Remember, the purpose of turn signals is to let other drivers and pedestrians know what a driver is going to do, and give enough time to adapt or respond.
    • Signal before changing lanes: Drivers should signal before changing lanes. The purpose of the turn signal is to let everyone know what the driver is going to do before the driver does it.
    • Signal before turning:  This lets the driver behind you know what you are going to do.