Say it with your hand
What do you mean? I don’t understand. What did you say? We’ve all said these things to people who are trying to tell us things. If we don’t understand what people are trying to tell us, there’s no communication between us. The same can be said about drivers. How well do you communicate and do other people really know what message you’re sending?
I was recently following a vehicle while on my way home from work one day when the driver stuck their arm slightly out the window and waved their fingers around. I paid very little attention to it and continued on. They did it again as they slowed down. I thought maybe they were trying to tell me to go around them, but they were too close to the centre of the road in a quiet residential area so I decided to stay back. The driver turned left into their driveway a few moments later. At that time I realized they were trying to communicate to me that they wanted to turn left and their signals weren’t working. But waving their fingers around?
This driver needs to learn the proper hand/arm signals for driving. Have you ever had your signal lights fail while driving? What did you do to let those near you know what your intentions were? If you intend to make a left turn, hold your left arm straight out of the window; almost as if you’re pointing to the direction you want to turn. To indicate a right turn with your arm, stick your left arm out the window and point straight up to the sky. If you want to indicate to slow or stop, stick your left arm out of the window and point toward the ground. These are observed in so many jurisdictions and would be recognized in most places where we drive on the right side of the road.
During my first year as a driving instructor at Young Drivers of Canada, I was out with a student and my signals failed to work. Since we were in the left lane on a multiple lane street, I asked my student to use her arm signal to indicate to the driver behind that we were turning left to enter the residential area. She did and after she made her turn we noticed the driver behind followed us so I asked my student to use her arm signal to indicate to that driver we were pulling over to the right curb. She immediately stuck her right arm out and smacked me in the face. I’m pretty certain she didn’t mean to hit me… I think.
I took it for granted that she knew what her arm signals were because it was in the driver’s handbook. From that moment on, I always ensure all my students know what the proper arm signals are before we really get into our lessons. Communication is a two-way street. You have to send a message and then get a response. However, you have to ensure you’re sending the proper message in order to get the proper response.