Q&A - Change Lanes Without Signal

Q&A ImageI just received a ticket for 151(c) basically saying that I change lanes without signal. I find it upsetting that I received this ticket because I did turn on my signal. He said it was just not fast enough as I was just completing a right turn then going to the left lane and the blinker was still signalling right.

There were no cars in front or behind me at the time. I was pull over after making a complete stop at a left turn lane which was red with my left turn signal blinking.

After reviewing the ticket, I noticed that the officer did not ask me to sign the ticket so there is a blank under the alleged offender's signature.

What are my options to dispute this ticket?

Comments

Giving an Adequate Signal

Section 151(c) says:

Driving on laned roadway

151 A driver who is driving a vehicle on a laned roadway

(c) must not drive it from one lane to another without first signalling his or her intention to do so by hand and arm or approved mechanical device in the manner prescribed by sections 171 and 172,

Means of signalling

71 (1) Subject to subsection (2), if a signal is required a driver must give it by means of

(a) his or her hand and arm,

(b) a signal lamp of a type approved by the director, or

(c) a mechanical device of a type approved by the director.

(2) When a vehicle is constructed or loaded in a manner that makes a signal by hand and arm not visible both to its front and rear, or a body or load extends more than 60 cm to the left of the centre of the steering wheel, a driver must give signals as provided by paragraph (1) (a) or (b), and a person must not drive the motor vehicle on a highway unless it is

so equipped.

Left hand drive signals

172 (1) When a driver of a left hand drive vehicle gives a signal by hand and arm, the driver must do so from the left side, and must signify

(a) a left turn by extending his or her left hand and arm horizontally from the vehicle,

(b) a right turn by extending his or her left hand and arm out and upward from the vehicle, and

(c) a stop or decrease in speed by extending his or her left hand and arm out and downward from the vehicle.

(2) A person must not drive a right hand drive vehicle on a highway unless it is equipped with a mechanical or electrical signalling device approved by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.

So, essentially what you have to do is signal before you move from one lane to another. The idea is to tell others what you are going to do, give them enough time to see and understand, then do it if it is safe to move. My suggestion is that 4 seconds of signalling is reasonable before you move and I base this recommendation on my experience with people's perception and reaction times learned from my training as a collision analyst. Very few drivers do this.

Proper signals are important, especially if you fail to note other traffic around you. You've at least given notice of your intentions and others have a chance to avoid you.

As for signing the ticket, I've dealt with that issue in this column.

Your options for dispute are either the allegation or the penalty. There are some good links on the links page that will help you as well.

Timing is everything!

A couple of comments, here.

So, essentially what you have to do is signal before you move from one lane to another. The idea is to tell others what you are going to do, give them enough time to see and understand, then do it if it is safe to move.

That's it, in a nutshell. Whether it be lane changes or turns at intersections, the maneuver you're in the act of performing is obvious to anybody with eyes in their head. Signals should always be on soon enough to indicate your intentions, not your actions - which are obvious, already.

My suggestion is that 4 seconds of signalling is reasonable before you move and I base this recommendation on my experience with people's perception and reaction times learned from my training as a collision analyst. Very few drivers do this.

Signalling one's intention to change lanes for 4 seconds in advance of the maneuver is an ideal concept for the reasons noted. But it's interesting to note the 'development' of the turn signal device over time. Heck, I'm old enough that I recall (as a child) riding in an old english Austin A40 van, in which the driver would reach over to a knob at the top centre of the metal dashboard, and when turned left or right this would trigger the appropriate illuminated pointer device in the B pillar. In the US, a number of requirements were imposed on automobile manufacturers for safety reasons in 1967; one of these was the activation of the signals with a light touch on the turn signal stalk, which would then cancel once released to aid lane changing.

In the last year or so, I've found myself driving a number of different rental cars in various vicinities. These modern vehicles typically feature a 'lane change' signal, where a light touch on the turn signal stalk will activate three blinks of the signal lights as a warning to other drivers that you're going to be changing lanes. Most recently, I accumulated over 1,500 miles driving a Citroen C3 in the UK, much of this on 'A' roads and motorways. Along with numerous other modern devices, this car included a lane departure warning (flashing dash light with chime) anytime the vehicle moved laterally too close to the solid or dotted white lines at the lane edges when the signal wasn't blinking. What I found annoying was how frequently the three blinks of the signal lights were completed prior to my lateral move, triggering the lane departure warning as I switched lanes. It was irritating enough that I would disengage it if I owned the vehicle.

On the bright side of things, last fall we were in Arizona, where a brother-in-law had rented a Jeep SUV of some description. The vehicle annoyed him with steering wheel vibrations, chimes, lights, etc., that he couldn't figure out; until he realized that he had to use his turn signals for his lane changes or be challenged by the car. Amused the hell out of me that it was re-training him to drive properly ... 

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