What are the hand signals for driving?
Informing other drivers of your intentions is the safest way of participating in traffic. While it’s enough to use turn signals when switching lanes or overtaking, sometimes the light bulbs simply go out. If your turn signals aren’t working, the least you can do is switch to hand signals to let other drivers know your intentions.
Although it’s an essential part of driver’s training, many drivers tend to overlook the importance of these signals. Therefore, you might be wondering – what are the hand signals for driving? Hand signals for driving are hand gestures for turning left, turning right, slowing down, stopping, and overtaking. So, this guide will get you on the right track by going over the most crucial ones.
Why would you use hand signals for driving?
The sad truth is – many drivers don’t even use their turn signals every time they switch lanes or overtake. While sometimes it might not seem as necessary, you should always inform other drivers on the road about your actions, so they can plan their position on the road.
However, there’s also the other side to the plot, and that’s when your turn signals simply aren’t working. It happens for various reasons, and the most common culprit is a burned light bulb. It could also be due to a socket connection, a blown fuse, or the turn signal switch malfunctioning.
Either way, it’s worth checking the problem and fixing it as soon as possible. In the meantime, you can rely on hand driving signals to keep other drivers posted on your intentions. Using hand signals also comes in handy in case of your taillights not working as you can inform others that you plan on slowing down or stopping.
If you don’t use hand signals, it might be difficult for others to spot your movement on time and it leads to potentially dangerous situations.
Main hand signals for driving in the US
Using hand signals for driving comes in handy when you find yourself in a traffic jam and you need to urgently stop. On the other hand, it’s also useful on highways and public roads, so you should be aware of the most important signals at the very least.
Here are some of the basic hand signals for driving in the US:
- Hand signal for turning left
- Hand signal for turning right
- Hand signal for slowing down
- Hand signal for stopping
- Hand signal for overtaking
Using these signals will help you avoid potentially dangerous situations and collisions. On top of that, you make your driving position on the road clear. Doing this and ensuring the utmost visibility goes accordingly with the Smith System 5 Keys safety driving technique.
Using a hand signal for turning left
Performing a hand signal for turning left is the easiest of all hand signals. You only need to put your left hand out from the window and extend it firmly pointing to the left. So, there are no retractions or movements needed, just point straight to the left with your arm fully extended.
For safety reasons, you can keep your arm extended while you are turning if it’s possible to do it safely with your right arm on the steering wheel. If not, you can slowly start switching lanes or turning while holding your hand extended for a few seconds at least, and retract it back in to control the steering wheel.
Using a hand signal for turning right
Performing a right turn hand signal is a bit more complex, and you should only make the effort to differentiate it from a left turn signal. To do a right turn hand signal, pull your left hand out of the window and bend it at the elbow point, facing upwards with your palm open.
When you think of it, the movement resembles the direction of your turn indicators as you turn the switch upwards before turning right. It’s a clockwise motion, so other drivers can guess that you plan on turning in that direction.
If you pull your hand out of the window extended like when turning left, make sure to bend it in the elbow and point towards the right. To avoid any confusion, it might be best to simply have the elbow point bent from the moment you put your hand out from the window.
Hand signals for slowing down and stopping
Hand signals for slowing down and stopping are essentially the same. You need to pull your hand out from the window and bend it in the elbow zone with your palm facing down, or towards the rear of your car. It’s like you are pointing the palm of your hand toward a vehicle behind you.
Most drivers instantly recognize this signal and it comes in useful when you are facing a traffic jam ahead and your turn signals aren’t working. It can successfully help you prevent rear collisions and you should keep showing your hand signal until the vehicle behind you comes to a full stop.
Hand signal for overtaking
Another useful hand signal if your turn signals aren’t working is the signal for overtaking. You can inform the vehicle ahead of your overtaking intentions by showing your palm forward with a circular front-to-back motion.
It’s also important to inform the overtaken vehicle of your intention to get ahead of it in the lane after the action is completed. So, make sure to use the left-turn hand signal at this point to prevent a collision in case the vehicle behind starts to accelerate.
You can also inform someone behind you that they can overtake you by extending your hand out from the window and just moving the palm of your hand forward without a circular motion. This is often done by trucks that prevent drivers behind to see the road ahead properly.
Can you replace turn signals with hand signals when driving?
Overall, hand signals are much less effective than turn signals. They are not quite as useful at night as they are during daylight, since not all drivers will be able to see your signal. On the other hand, many drivers probably don’t understand all of the hand signals when driving.
So, it’s best to use hand signals when driving just as a temporary solution until you replace the light bulbs or repair the turn signal switch. Hand signals are effective for temporary use, and you should make sure that you indicate them as clearly as possible to other drivers.
Well, there you have it – we went over the most important hand signals when driving at a glance, so you can use them to avoid accidents if your turn signals aren’t working. If you’ve been wondering about “what are the hand signals for driving”, now you know the answer.
It’s always handy to know how to do the gesture and interpret hand signals indicated by other drivers. So, make sure to understand them and practice showing hand signals yourself, just in case.
What are the 7 hand signals for driving?
The 7 hand signals for driving are for turning left, turning right, slowing down, coming to a full stop, overtaking, calling out from behind, and moving off.
What does each hand signal mean in driving?
An extended left-hand means you are turning left, while a hand bent at the elbow facing up means you are turning right. If you are slowing down, you can point your palm down and move it in the direction of a driver behind. A full stop signal can be performed by a hand bent at the elbow and facing down with the palm. Overtaking signals can be performed in a circular front-to-back motion.
What is the hand signal for turning left?
The hand signal for turning left is a fully extended hand pointing to the left.