Ya gotta signal that turn, even in a turn laneAugust 3rd, 2012 by travis baker
The in basket: Glen Ring of Poulsbo says he and his wife have a minor dispute going over whether a driver has to activate his turn signal when in a left-turn lane. He contended that it’s not required because you have no option but to turn, and she disagreed.
The out basket: Yes, the law requires a signal in a turn lane, even though it’s clear what you plan to do. RCW 46.61.305 says “no person shall turn a vehicle or move right or left upon a roadway unless and until such movement can be made with reasonable safety nor without giving an appropriate signal in the manner hereinafter provided.” It further says, “A signal of intention to turn or move right or left when required shall be given continuously during not less than the last one hundred feet traveled by the vehicle before turning.”
State Trooper Russ Winger says, “There are several different situations that a motorist encounters when using a left turn lane. For example, the intersection of Burwell and Callow Avenue (in Bremerton). This is a signal-controlled two-way left turn lane where the right lane can turn left, go straight or turn right. The left lane has no other option than to turn left. You certainly need to be signaling your intent here so motorists to the rear are aware of your intent. A motorist that has driven up from the rear on another vehicle in this right lane needs to know the leading vehicle’s intent.
“Another situation occurs when a vehicle is in the left-turn lane of a controlled intersection utilizing flashing yellow turn arrows. This motorist needs to signal his intent to oncoming motorists that may have the right of way, even though this vehicle has ‘no option’ but to turn left – legally speaking.
“Failing to signal or failing to properly signal are accident- causing and -contributing violations” Russ continued. “Law enforcement can and does stop for these violations on a regular basis. “For the most part officers will use this as an educational situation and not issue a citation unless there is a pattern of continued violation of the law and/or the driver exhibits lack of regard for the merits of using turn indicators.
“Many a DUI or unlicensed driver has found themselves in a jail cell or with a criminal ticket in hand after getting stopped for failing to or improperly signaling turns and lane changes.
“The bottom line is that motorists should always signal turns and any lane changes (including exiting and merging) to freeways. Not just because it’s required by law but because it decreases the potential for collisions and makes driving much safer for all motorists.”