I Wonder: How long do I need to signal before changing lanes?

I Wonder: How long do I need to signal before changing lanes?

Credit: ODOT

I Wonder: How long do I need to signal before changing lanes?

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by TRAVIS PITTMAN / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on August 19, 2010 at 9:16 AM

Updated Monday, Aug 23 at 9:44 AM

"Is there a minimum number of "clicks" that you are supposed to use when using your turn or merge signal that is required by law?"

Carol

Federal Way

By "clicks," I presume you are referring to how many times your turn signal flashes before you make a turn or change lanes.

The next time you are stopped at an intersection, look at the vehicles around you. Compare how quickly your turn signal clicks versus the other vehicles. They aren't all consistent, so there is no law in regards to "clicks" because it can't apply evenly to everyone.

The issue isn't so much about clicks as it is distance and momentum.

When making a right turn at a red light or stop sign, you must come to a full stop. The law doesn't say how many seconds you need to be stopped, but your car must cease moving forward, period.

"If you don't come to a full stop, you're at risk of a $124 fine," says Trooper Keith Leary, Washington State Patrol.

If you're turning right or left in traffic, changing lanes or merging, you must signal at least 100 feet before you make your move. At 60 mph, that's going to be about 1.2 seconds.

Although 100 feet is what's required under the law, Leary says for your safety and that of the other drivers, you may want to give more than that.

"You're indicating to other drivers about your intentions. At the minimum, it's 100 feet, but you want to give it as much time as you can so they know what you are doing," said Leary.

The Washington state Dept. of Licensing suggests that you have a four-second gap between vehicles that you are trying to merge between.

If you have a question you'd like the KING5.com staff to try answering, send it to iwonder@king5.com.  Do not post your question in the comment section. Please include your first name and where you are writing from so we can post it with your question. We will not post your last name or any other information.

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