When to Use Turn Signals in Michigan | Scott Goodwin Law

When to Use Turn Signals in Michigan

by / Friday, 10 August 2018 / Published in Motor Vehicle Accidents, Tips
Close up view of a turn signal lever inside a vehicle

If you’ve ever spent any significant time driving, you’ve likely been frustrated by another driver who doesn’t seem to understand how to use their turn signals. Maybe you’ve had to slam on your brakes after someone tried to merge into your lane without signalling first. Or maybe you’ve been behind another driver who has had their turn signal on for way too long. But not using turn signals correctly is more than just annoying, it can be very dangerous. According to a 2012 study by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), about 2 million car accidents every year are caused by failing to use turn signals. This study also found that 48% of drivers don’t use turn signals correctly.

While driving, it’s important to communicate your intentions with other drivers as clearly as possible and turn signals are an important tool to help you do that. But a lot of people either forget to use their turn signals or they’re unclear about when turn signals should or shouldn’t be used.

Michigan Turn Signal Laws

In the state of Michigan, drivers are required to use turn signals when making all turns. Michigan Vehicle Code Section 257.648 states, “The operator of a vehicle or bicycle upon a highway, before stopping or turning from a direct line, shall first determine that the stopping or turning can be made in safety and shall give a signal as required in this section.” This applies even when you’re making a turn from a designated turn lane. Many people think that if you’re in a turn lane, you don’t need to signal your turn, but this is not the case.

Some people also don’t think you have to use your turn signal when changing lanes, but this is also not true. Turn signals should always be used when changing lanes so that other drivers have a chance to react. In the 2007 case People vs. HRLIC, the Michigan Court of Appeals stated that the Michigan Vehicle Code requires drivers to use turn signals while changing lanes.

Roundabouts are starting to become a more common sight around Michigan, but a lot of people aren’t sure about the rules for driving in them. According to MDOT, turn signals should be used as you approach your exit.

When to Use Hand Signals

Even if your turn signals aren’t working or if you’re driving a classic car which doesn’t have turn signals, it’s still important to signal your lane changes and turns. In these sorts of situations, hand signals can be used to signal your intentions. To signal a left turn with your hand, place your left arm straight out the window so that it’s parallel to the ground. For a right turn, put your left arm out the window with your arm pointed up. To signal that you’re going to stop, put your left arm out the window with your arm pointed down. Hand signals should also be when riding motorcycles, bicycles, mopeds, and scooters.


Hand signals for a left turn, right turn and stop

Hand Signal Diagram from What Every Driver Must Know by the Michigan SOS

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer

If you’ve been injured in a car accident caused by another driver not using their turn signal correctly, don’t hesitate to contact a car accident lawyer. Even excellent drivers can end up being hurt in car accidents when other drivers don’t follow the rules of the road.

The personal injury lawyers at the Law Offices Goodwin & Scieszka know how to navigate through all types of motor vehicle accident cases. Contact us to speak to one of our attorneys about your unfortunate situation.