Turning Signals; Know the Law in Florida for Safe Driving!

Drivers should always use directional signals to indicate their intention to turn, change lanes or pass a vehicle. Not only is it the law in Florida, proper use of turn signals is an important way to prevent road accidents. In this article, personal injury lawyer, Jeffrey Meldon discusses the laws in Florida regarding the use of their vehicle's turning signals.  Here is what you should know: 

  • A driver should signal before putting on the brakes. The purpose of the signal is to let other drivers and pedestrians know what a driver is going to do before that driver does it.
  • According to Florida statute §316.156(1), any stop or turning signal must be given either by means of the hand/arm or by the vehicle signal lamps.
  • According to Florida statute §316.155(2), a driver who wants to make a right or left turn must use the appropriate turning signal no less than 100 feet before actually turning. The turning signal must be turned on continuously during those 100 feet.
  • A bicycle is considered a vehicle in Florida, but a signal by hand or arm does not need to be given continuously for 100 feet by a bicyclist if the hand is needed in the operation of the bicycle.
  • Florida law (Fla. Stat. §316.155(1)) allows a driver to change lanes or turn only when such movement can be made with reasonable safety. Meaning, a driver who questions whether he or she will have enough time to make a turn or change lanes because of the traffic should not attempt to.
  • According to Florida Statute §316.155(4), a driver may not use the directional signal on a parked or disabled vehicle or flash it as a courtesy or "do pass" signal to drivers of other vehicles approaching from the rear.
  • Four-way emergency flash lights should only be used while a vehicle is legally stopped or disabled on a road. The violation of this statute is considered a noncriminal traffic violation, punishable as a moving violation.

Knowing the statutes and keeping these points in mind will make you a safer driver. You will also avoid traffic tickets for violations of Florida directional signals law and will contribute to a reduction in traffic accidents, as other drivers and pedestrians will be aware of your intentions on the road.

Of note:  Violation of a Florida traffic statute can result not only in a traffic violation and ticket; if the breaking of a statute is found to contribute to an accident, you could be found to be comparatively negligent for that accident and be held liable for your portion of fault.