The law on using your blinkers is confusing in California. Did you know it actually depends on whether other vehicles are near you?
Some California drivers have a bit of confusion about turn signals and whether they are required by law or not. Turns out…it depends! Using your blinkers is required if there are other vehicles around you. In the event that any other vehicle may be affected by a driver’s movement, the use of a turn signal is mandatory.
Your blinkers are usually needed when you are:
- Changing lanes
- Turning left or right
- Merging on or off of a freeway
- Pulling up to park beside a curb
Now some infractions, such as a DUI, require that a police officer first find a traffic violation before they can pull you over. They can’t randomly pull you over if you have not violated any laws. In some cases, however, police officers have wrongly stopped a car for failure to use a turn signal when there weren’t any other vehicles around. This is not a valid cause for pulling someone over. So there have been various cases of defense attorneys getting a DUI excused because the roads were clear of vehicles and the officer didn’t have probable cause. There really is a big gray area with the law being the way it is. Drug charges have been dismissed due to the details of this law, such as this story on SFGate.com - Turn Signals Not Always Required reports.
But if there are people or other cars around - and there usually are - then it’s always best to use your turn signal. It just makes sense. It communicates to the other drivers where you are going and what you intend to do. Hopefully they return the favor and we can all avoid as many collisions as possible. You can also review the California Driver Handbook for more driving and safety tips.
If you do find yourself getting pulled over for any reason, make sure to use your turn signal. Here’s a great article in the Fresno Bee on some tips for a better experience when dealing with the CHP.
We all slip up sometimes,right? Maybe you forgot to use your turn signal and got a traffic ticket. If you need advice, we have a team of experts to support and help you with your ticket. Fill out this quick form or give us a call at 800-985-8978.