We use hand signals in our daily lives so often, we don’t even notice it. “After you,” you might signal with a sweep of your hand to someone who reaches a store’s entrance just as you do. “I don’t know,” you might shrug while raising your palms skyward when asked a question. In the library of useful hand gestures, there are three you need to know to be a well-rounded driver, because you may have to use them one day behind the wheel. And no, none of them are intended to communicate to another driver that “you’re number one!” Say your vehicle’s turn signals have stopped working or your brake lights are out. Traffic has come to a stop suddenly in front of you, and you need to slow down right now. What should you do? Besides squeezing the brake pedal with determination, you should alert drivers behind you that you’re slowing down and coming to a stop, so they’re prepared and can take appropriate action as well. But how do you do that? Here are the three most important driver hand signals.
Extend your left arm out the driver’s window and point your arm down with your fingers extended and your palm facing rearward. This is the universally accepted sign that you’re decelerating, and other drivers understand it intuitively. Keep your arm in this position at least until you come to a full stop. Even better, before you pull your arm back in, check your mirrors to confirm that the cars behind you have seen this signal and are slowing down.
I Want To Turn Left
Extend your left arm straight out the window, palm forward. You can also point the fingers of your left hand to the left if that’s what comes naturally to you. It’s best to retract your arm only after you begin to make a safe turn. After all, your turn signals don’t shut off until you’re done turning.
I Want To Turn Right
For right turns, extend your left arm out the driver’s window with your elbow bent and point your hand to the sky with your palm facing forward. Again, it’s best to keep your arm in this position until you begin your right turn, just as you would leave your turn signals on as you started the turn. Finally, if you’re a bicycle rider, these are the same hand signals you should use to let car and truck traffic know your intentions. Use them when you’re on two wheels as well as four and you’ll stay safe. resources www.caranddriver.com