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A Simple Guide to Using Hand Signals While Driving [PHOTOS]

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When out on the road, it’s important to alert other drivers to any actions you will be making with your car that might affect them. Whether that’s adjusting speed or changing trajectory, communication is imperative. That is why, after all, cars have brake lights and turn signals (even if not all drivers utilize them, unfortunately).

If those indicator lights are broken, though, that’s no excuse not to signal to other drivers. The Department of Motor Vehicles has an official language for hand signals that all drivers should know.

Note: While widely used, the middle finger is not considered proper hand signalling.


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Important Hand Signals to Know

Left Turn or Moving to Left Lane Driving hand signals guide left turn Extend your left arm out of the driver’s window and point it sideways at a 180° angle, keeping your elbow straight and your palm open.

Turn Right or Moving to Right Lane

Driving hand signals guide right turn Extend your left arm out of the driver’s window and angle it at 90° up so the hand is pointing up and the elbow is bent. Palm should be pointed forward.

Stopping or Slowing Down

Driving hand signals guide stop slow Extend your left arm out of the driver’s window and angle it 90° down so the hand is pointing down and the elbow is bent. Palm should be pointed behind you.
Admission to Pass Driving hand signals guide pass Extend your left arm out of the driver’s window and angle it at 90° up so the hand is pointing up and the elbow is bent. Move the arm in a steady, circular clockwise motion.

Tips for Properly and Effectively Using Hand Signals

It’s important to signal in advance and maintain the signal throughout the movement, even if you don’t see anyone around you. Begin at least 100 feet before you make your move to give other drivers enough time to notice. Bicyclists should also follow this same guide so they can signal their intent to cars.

Note: Motorcyclists have over a dozen different unique hand signals that they’re supposed to use. They differ in some ways from these signals, such as using the right hand to point right.


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Source: DMV.org