While much attention is given to the dangers associated with distracted driving, it turns out that turn signal mistakes -- either not using a turn signal or not turning one off after a turn -- are cited as causing at least twice as many accidents. This means that while there are roughly 950,000 accidents a year attributed to some sort of distracted driving behavior, there are actually around 2 million accidents a year caused by turn signal misuse.
The study was conducted by the Society of Automotive Engineers and found that 48 percent of drivers either do not use a turn signal, or forget to turn their signal off. In fact, when it comes to using a turn signal, the study found the failure to use rate is 25 percent, which means that there are 2 billion times a day that somewhere in the country a driver is not using their turn signal.
When looking at why there are issues regarding turn signals, it's hard to say exactly what is causing it. Some drivers may simply be forgetting. Others may have not been properly trained on the importance of signaling when learning how to drive. Other drivers may actually just be too lazy to turn the signal on or off. However, whatever the reasoning, the truth is that signal mistakes add confusion and increase the risk of getting into an accident.
According to the study, it was also interesting to note that even though using a turn signal properly is not legally an option, anecdotal evidence suggests that police do not put as much enforcement efforts into correcting the issue as they do into other negligent driving behaviors, like speeding or failing to stop at a stop sign.