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Can Failure to Signal Result in Reckless Driving Charges in Illinois?

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Plainfield reckless driving defense attorney

It is a simple thing to do, but most drivers have been guilty of not using a turn signal while driving at least once in their lifetime. A recent study from the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) revealed that approximately 2 billion occurrences of drivers failing to signal happen every day. On average, 48 percent of drivers fail to signal while changing lanes, while 25 percent fail to signal when turning. Not only is failing to use a turn signal considered a traffic violation in Illinois, but it can also lead to reckless driving charges, because it could lead to collisions. The study from SAE concluded that 2 million car collisions occur annually as a result of failing to signal.

How Does Illinois Enforce Turn Signal Usage?

It is against Illinois law to neglect to use a turn signal while driving. A turn signal should be given at least 200 feet before a turn, and the signal should be used before every lane change. There are other guidelines for drivers to follow in order to keep the road safe for all drivers and pedestrians:

  • At a red light, come to a complete stop before turning unless there is a green arrow on a traffic signal.

  • Yield to the right-of-way traffic.

  • Check for pedestrians and yield to their crossing.

  • Right-hand turners should make their turns as close to the curb as possible, while left-hand turners should complete their turns into the closest lane going in the intended direction.

It is not uncommon for police officers to stop a driver who fails to use the turn signal while driving. In most cases, the action will just result in a traffic ticket with a mandatory fine. However, if an injury or a collision occurs as a result of the neglect, the offending driver can be charged with reckless driving. This offense is defined by Illinois law as any action or inaction that puts other drivers and/or pedestrians in danger of injury or death. People cannot predict the actions of the drivers around them, and if a turn signal is not used, a lane change or a sudden turn can be jarring and can cause a serious collision. Reckless driving is a Class A misdemeanor in Illinois that can result in a $2,500 fine and up to one year in prison.

Why Is a Turn Signal Important?

Communication is key when keeping the roads safe, and the only way drivers can communicate with each other while in motion is through their vehicles’ lights, including the turn signal. The turn signal is important for letting other drivers know:

  • You are planning to turn soon.

  • You are about to change lanes (when it is safe to do so).

  • You are about to change lanes because there is an obstacle in the road or the lanes are merging.

When a turn signal is used, the other drivers on the road can modify their driving so that the turn or lane change can be made safely. If this cooperation does not happen, it can lead to frustration, road rage, and collisions.

Contact a Joliet, IL Traffic Violation Attorney

The rules of the road are put in place for the safety of all motorists. In some cases, forgetting to use your turn signal on can lead to a traffic violation and even a car accident. Charges of reckless driving can have serious consequences, especially if multiple incidents occur close together. A lawyer from the Law Office of Tedone & Morton, P.C. can help make sure your rights were not violated during a traffic stop. To schedule a free consultation with a Will County traffic ticket defense lawyer, call our office today at 815-666-1285.




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