It’s a question we all ask ourselves when we get behind the wheel of our vehicle. “Do I have to signal to change lanes?” Depending on which state you live in, the laws on signals for lane changes are different.
Getting behind the wheel is a tremendous responsibility not to be taken lightly. Knowing the rules of the road, wherever you may be, is always a wise idea. So, we sat down and did some research on the rules of the road for all 50 states when it comes to mandatory signaling while in the act of changing lanes on the highway. In some cases, we found stringent laws stating “you must signal” while in other cases, the law stated that “the movement must be done with reasonable safety” saying nothing whatsoever about signal usage.
Do I have to use my signal to change lanes?
Best practices dictate that using your turn signals or “blinkers” is always a great idea. It is good, courteous communication to the drivers around you. By using your signals, it’s your way of letting everyone know what your plan is, where you’re headed and what they can expect so they can react safely and with courtesy to you. In other words, use your signals, it’s the safest way to get from Point A to Point B. Best of all, it helps you avoid the time, trouble and headaches that come with a traffic accident. Nobody wants to be the person on the side of the road everyone is rubbernecking to look at, so please, be kind, be courteous and use your signals.
To help you be prepared when you hit the roadways, we have put together a list that details which states require signals to change lanes on the highway, which ones don’t and states where it is entirely situational as to whether or not a signal is required to change lanes. While we tried our best to be as thorough as possible, don’t just take our word for it. Please make sure to check your specific state and local laws to make sure you are obeying the law and being as safe as possible on the roadways.
What does it mean “It depends?”
Some states require you to signal some of the time, but not ALL of the time. In those states the law is usually built with the idea that if you’re in traffic, or around other drivers, you must signal; however, if there are no other vehicles nearby, you don’t have to.
States that REQUIRE you to signal before changing lanes:
States that DO NOT REQUIRE you to signal before changing lanes:
States where it is SITUATIONAL if it is mandatory for you to signal before changing lanes:
Can police give me a ticket for changing lanes without signaling?
Can they? It depends. Will they? Probably. In some states there have been reports of law enforcement officers ticketing drivers for not using their signals to change lanes, even though the law might say that it is not mandatory. If you feel like you have been ticketed unfairly, contact a Criminal Defense Attorney and they can help you rectify the situation.