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A common driving mistake that increases collision risk

On Behalf of | Jan 29, 2024 | Auto Accidents

There are many ways that New Jersey drivers may increase their chances of causing or otherwise being involved in a crash. Some people knowingly make unsafe choices. They run red lights, complete rolling stops at intersections with four-way stop signage or significantly exceed the posted speed limit. These parties put themselves at others at risk of a preventable collision.

Other drivers simply fall into unsafe habits that may increase their chance of a crash without engaging in blatantly unsafe behavior. The failure to consistently use a turn signal is a perfect example. Researchers have found that people fail to use their turn signals roughly one out of every four times they complete a turn. That failure rate increases to 50% for those merging into another lane of traffic. The unconscious habit of not using a turn signal could significantly increase someone’s risk of a crash and may lead to legal and financial liability for any collision that does occur.

Turn signals exist for a reason

Those driving motor vehicles have to constantly gauge their next moves based on traffic conditions. One of the factors motorists consider when deciding what to do next is the intent of others near them in traffic. Both turn signals and brake lights play a key role in visual communication between drivers. Manufacturers have had an obligation to integrate lighted communication systems in vehicles for decades, and New Jersey state law requires that people use them.

Unfortunately, many people simply fail to use their turn signals in traffic, which may ultimately lead to a collision. Someone who fails to use their turn signals consistently could end up declared at fault for a crash that results from their driving habits. They might receive a citation that puts their license at risk if they have had too many other recent traffic violations. Their insurance premiums could increase, and they might even face a lawsuit if the crash that occurred was severe enough to justify litigation.

Those seeking to avoid crashes and financial liability should make a point of consistently using their turn signals and monitoring others carefully to gauge their intentions in traffic. In this, and so many other ways, understanding what contributes to collision risk may help people avoid liability for New Jersey crashes.