Failure to Signal & Car Accidents
California drivers have a duty to use their signals before making a maneuver on the roadways. A signal can be in the form of hand signals or signal lamps, but signal lamps are usually required. The obligation upon California drivers to signal makes sense: an ordinarily prudent driver would signal their intent to make a maneuver before making the maneuver, as doing so will put other drivers on notice of their intended action and thereby make the maneuver safer for everyone concerned. Accordingly, the failure to signal can be a form of negligence, and when that form of negligence causes a car accident the driver may be liable to others for personal injury.
Failure to Signal & The Presumption of Negligence
The failure to use a signal as required by the California Vehicle Code may create a presumption of negligence. The California Vehicle Code requires drivers to signal their intention continuously during the last 100 feet traveled before turning. Furthermore, the driver may not turn their car right or left until giving the appropriate signal and waiting until the turn can be made with reasonable safety. Violation of these statutes that have a causal relationship with the injury may create a presumption that the driver acted negligently. In short, a driver’s failure to signal their intent may suggest negligence and create liability for personal injuries in the event the failure to signal results in a car accident.
Example: Negligent Failure to Signal
Assume that a driver is driving in the right lane of two lanes moving in the same direction. Another vehicle approaches the driver’s car in the left lane of the two lane highway. As the other vehicle nears the driver’s car the driver abruptly and with no signal turns into the left lane hitting the front end of the other vehicle and causing a car accident. In this scenario the driver did not signal his intent to enter the left lane which caused the car accident. If the occupants of the other car suffered personal injury as a result of the car accident the driver may be liable for their injuries since he acted negligently in the operation of his vehicle.