Roadside Chat - Until people can read minds, use turn signals

1-6 until people can read mindsYou know where you’re going, but the other drivers on the road do not. It may be possible that sometime in the future, we’ll be able to read each other’s minds, but that’s not the case today. Until then, using your turn signal is a simple concept and a very powerful safety tool every driver has at their fingertips.

Looking back, the history of this simple device can get a little complicated with inventors claiming to have first had the idea, but not the patent to back it up. According to the National Museum of American History, the first successful turn signal was invented by Oscar J. Simler in 1929, and it wasn’t until 1939 that consumers would see them on cars. Buick was the first American automaker to install the “flash-way directional signal” on its vehicles. The original location was on the steering column, just like it is today.

Using a turn signal is just one of the safety decisions you can make behind the wheel. To find out about others, you can check out Iowa’s new traffic safety campaign, What Drives You. The campaign is based on research that showed people think more about their driving behaviors when they relate safety to a loved one. Please join us in making Iowa’s roads safer for everyone and connect with us on:

So far this year in Iowa, one person has been killed in a traffic crash. In Iowa in 2022, there were 338 traffic-related deaths. To see statistics published daily by the Office of Driver Services, go to the daily fatality report at

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