Roadside Chat - Use your turn signal like a blinkin' beacon

12-10 blinkin beaconThink back to when you took your driver’s education class, did you pay particular attention to the section on mind reading? Wait, you mean that wasn’t an actual part of driver’s training? Since none of us can actually read the minds of those drivers around us, it benefits everyone if you signal your intention to change lanes or turn.

Turn signals first began appearing on vehicles in the early 1900s but weren’t added as standard equipment until Buick released its 1939 models. While there is some dispute about the origin of the turn signal, one thing is certain. Using your turn signal is one of the simplest and most effective safety tools in your vehicle.

Here’s a quick tutorial. The turn signals on most vehicles are located on a short lever attached to the side of the steering wheel column. By pulling the lever up, you activate the signals on the right side of the car to indicate a right-hand turn. By pushing the lever down, you activate the signals on the left side of the vehicle for a left-hand turn.

In case you’re feeling a little nostalgic for Rudolph -

In 2021, there have been 333 deaths in traffic crashes. That is an increase of five since last Friday. To see statistics published daily by the Office of Driver Services, go to the daily fatality report at

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Have a comment?


©  Iowa Department of Transportation.  All rights reserved.