How well do you communicate?
If you live in a busy household like I do, I’m sure you’ve experienced missed messages that never reached you. Every now and then I find out that someone called me and someone in my house took the message. I never got it. The person who called me may think I didn’t care about what they called about. That’s not always true, but communication is a big part of our lives. How well do you communicate while driving and how do you know you’ve actually communicated to the other road user?
I watch how drivers signal to the right, but turn left. What were they thinking, or were they? How many drivers have you seen drive along with their turn signal on, but don’t actually turn? Then there’s the other side of the coin, drivers who make lane changes or turns without signaling.
Signaling allows drivers to what your intentions are so it makes your move in traffic safer. For example, if you needed or wanted to do a lane change, but didn’t have the room in traffic, a signal lets the drivers in the next lane know your intentions so they could slow down to let you in. Wasn’t that simple?
What would you do if your brake lights stopped working? Would you feel a little nervous that the driver behind wouldn’t know when you had to slow down quickly? I would, but why do we feel that turn signals aren’t important forms of communication? Signaling a turn lets the drivers near you know why you’re slowing down. Not only is it a law, its driving courtesy.
The second part of communicating is the response. Even though you may have signaled, it doesn’t mean drivers will allow you to do what you want to do. You need to ensure a response each time you send a message. Check the mirror to see if the driver behind is slowing after you’ve applied the brake or turn signal for a turn. Look for eye contact after you’ve tapped the horn at a pedestrian or a cyclist. Avoid thinking they know what you want to do, just because you’ve sent the message.
If you respond to this article by ensuring that you communicate to other road users with signals for turns and lane changes, I know that I’ve effectively communicated with you!