Hanging Your Arm Out the Car Window

The in basket: Some of us pickleball players in the bi-weekly games at the Sheridan Park rec center in Bremerton got into a discussion of hand signals after one of them, Bob Merhaut, asked it there is any law against having one’s arm hanging out of the car. The three of us couldn’t agree on what one of the hand signals means, the one where one hangs one’s hand straight down. Bob and I thought it means “I’m stopping,” but Dick Belmont said it means you’re slowing down.


The in basket: Some of us pickleball players in the bi-weekly games at the Sheridan Park rec center in Bremerton got into a discussion of hand signals after one of them, Bob Merhaut, asked it there is any law against having one’s arm hanging out of the car. The three of us couldn’t agree on what one of the hand signals means, the one where one hangs one’s hand straight down. Bob and I thought it means “I’m stopping,” but Dick Belmont said it means you’re slowing down.
The out basket: You have to have a lot more than an arm hanging out before you encounter any legal prohibition, whether you’re the driver or a passenger, says Brian George, the public relations trooper with the State Patrol in Bremerton. The closest applicable law prevents transporting a person on the exterior of a car. There’s no law requiring anyone to keep their hands and arms inside.
The State Driver’s Guide says we were all right. When the driver hangs his hand straight down it can mean either that’s he’s slowing down or stopping. Pointing straight out signals a left turn and pointing up means you plan to turn right. It says you have to use hand signals only when other drivers can’t see your electronic turn signals and brake lights. I’m not sure when that might be. When your lights aren’t working, I guess.

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