Sunday 04 Dec 2016

Turn Signals
Andrew Lisa

"You ever notice that anyone going slower than you is a moron and anyone going faster than you is a maniac? With all these morons and maniacs on the road, it's a wonder any of us get anywhere," said comedian George Carlin.

As enlightened as we may be, the way we still get around from place to place is to climb into giant metal rectangle moving 70 miles per hour, 18 inches away from other giant metal rectangles that are also moving 70 miles per hour. Propelling our cars are controlled gasoline explosions, which go off right in front of where we sit, encased in metal and glass.

Roughly, 3,000 Canadians take their very last breath on Earth inside of the twisted wreckage of these ridiculous machines every year. If your giant metal rectangle is about to turn near my giant metal rectangle, I'd like to know about it beforehand.

Luckily, we have turn signals attached to the circles we use to steer the rectangles. With the exception of brake lights, reverse lights and headlights, a turn signal is the only means we have of letting other drivers now what we intend on doing. I think you can roll down the window, stick your arm out and make some sort of Tetris-L shape, bent at the elbow. Such hand signals are absurd because you have a turn signal!

Yet, there are always some people who don’t announced their intent. It's hard to explain the feeling that goes with watching someone float into your lane in front of you with no indication or with seeing the person stopped in the middle of the intersection, waiting for traffic to pass, clearly about to turn left, with no left blinker on.

I usually think, "I hope they crash." Then I realize that's probably unreasonable. So I just ask, "Why not use a turn signal when you turn?”

Are you genuinely not aware? Do you genuinely not know that it's appropriate to use a blinker to indicate a turn and that you're failing to do so at that exact moment? If so, please don't drive, have children or drive, anywhere.

They must have mentioned turn signals at some point when you were learning to drive a car as a kid, and you must see other, not-stupid drivers doing it all the time. If you actually didn't know you were supposed to use a blinker, then I'm sorry, but you're a broken human being. Maybe soon they'll give you a new stem cell or something - something that lets you understand the most basic, rudimentary aspects of functioning in a society.

For now, please get a bike and learn those hand signals.

The second, much more likely option is that you know, but you just don't care. You're not bothering anybody, you tell yourself. You're just driving around, minding your own business, still recovering from when you just accidentally dropped your cigarette in your lap while fumbling to turn up the radio when “REO Speedwagon” came on, you don't need any turn signals. That’s okay, fine.

The fact is that if you don't care about using a turn signal because no one is forcing you to care, then you probably don't really care about anything. That means you're probably ignoring many other, bigger rules. I hope one day, you're in your car, breaking one of those other bad rules or doing something that you would have gotten away with until you turn without a blinker and pulled over for that.

The third and final reason is that you're doing it on purpose. It's a rule. You don't follow the rules. No one tells you what to do, except your team manager at your marketing job or whatever. Sticking it to the man is great. Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in an island dungeon for a cause. If you're rebelling against something with a turn signal just because you can, you're rebel without a cause. Like James Dean.

Do you know how James Dean died? He died in a horrible car accident. So, too, did as did Paul Walker.

I get it. If the motorcycle idling next to you can make chainsaw noises for fifteen seconds before it's able to move, then you should be able to turn without a blinker while drinking acid-laced whiskey and you can. But you shouldn't. And you shouldn't turn without a blinker, because then you'll raise kids who turn without blinkers, and then the roads will be a blinker-less zombie apocalypse.

Turn as if you mean it, don’t become a zombie. If you flick your blinker on and off at the last second after you've already started making the turn, it's as bad as not signaling at all.

 

Andrew Lisa is a freelance writer, living in Los Angeles. He likes to write opinionated diatribes about driving etiquette as well as profiles of on-line protection web sites, such as Reputation.com.

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