Hand signals and safe driving tips
We are all aware that people use hand signals to indicate intentions, often when speaking but also when driving. The latter when used by an individual can be confusing, cause road rage or accidents or even in some cases prevent you from having an accident. Let’s look at some scenarios.
A car is double parked, which we all know happens quite often and more often than not in a potentially dangerous place, when of course there are never any police around! The driver, who at the time is stationary as you approach and puts his or her arm out of the window indicating for you to pass. This means that you will be first and foremost on the wrong side of the road, but what often happens is that although they have made this hand indication they then pull off without looking as you are at their side or passing and dependent on the road situation, an accident may occur. In these circumstances you should always be very cautious of passing said vehicle as if an accident occurred it’s most likely that the blame would lay with you for being on the wrong side of the road and the stationary car could say nothing about indicating with their hand that they were permitting you to pass them. Now whilst I am not saying this is always the case it is happening more and more often and we all want to avoid an accident where ever possible.
A person walks straight out onto a zebra crossings without checking the traffic, or the cross the road in front of you, where not permitted, and just hold up their hand to indicate that you should stop for them. Once a person is on the zebra crossing then you are legally obliged to stop to let them cross, but if they are not on a crossing this is a different matter. You would of course not want to run over the pedestrian but you may cause any car behind you to run into the back of you if you stop suddenly.
If you are on the motorway and travelling in the outside lane at 120km and a car is behind you indicating their desire to pass, it’s always advisable to pull over when possible to allow them to exceed the speed limit if they wish. If you fail to pull over and remain in the outside lane at 120 the driver behind may become very angry and make various hand actions some which could be unpleasant, flash their lights and drive close to try and intimidate you. Once they pass you they will often then play “games” with you by cutting you up, braking fiercely, use offensive hand gestures etc. If you feel scared or intimidated by this, take the next available exit and sit for a few minutes safely off the motorway before continuing your journey. It’s better to be a few minutes late than not to arrive at all or end up in hospital.
Many drivers use their indicators when it is not necessary and do not use them when it is! They often indicate they are turning for example when in fact the car in front of them is turning and they are trying to tell you they are slowing down or stopping.
When police are giving signals they should always be obeyed and most hand signals are the same world-wide. A police man holding up his hand flat side to your car indicates that you must stop. This is used most often to control traffic due to congestion, an accident or a road side check point. When the use their hand in a circular motion this indicate that you may proceed and is often accompanied by them blowing a whistle. Police check points are becoming more frequent and they generally use a luminous baton when indicating that they want you to pull over. Be cautious and happy driving.