Monday, August 27, 2007

Blinkers, please!

To: The driving population
From: Me
Subject: Using your blinkers

As you get in your car, place your key into the ignition, and turn the key, don't look up so quickly next time. Instead, look at your steering wheel and your dashboard. You may find something you've never seen before. On the dashboard, you will notice left-pointing and right-pointing arrows. Surprisingly, they do not exist to point you to the front seat doors.

Extending from the left side of your steering column, somewhere between the 9:00-10:00 positions, you will find what looks like a handle.

As odd as it sounds, this handle and those arrows work together. You push the handle down, and the left arrow lights up - and off - and on - and off - until the handle returns to the regular position. You pull the handle up, and the right arrow lights up, just like the left arrow did when you pushed down the handle.

In what may be the biggest surprise to you, this handle and these lights were not part of your car's option package. Seriously, I'm not kidding. They weren't put there for your kids to gaze at when your spouse is stuck in the store, buying milk.

The lights are called blinkers. I think you can figure out why.

The neat things about blinkers is they are not accessories. They are not put there for your enjoyment. They are there to save your life, or at least stop someone else from getting into an accident with you.

That's right, they were assembled into your car to help you. When you oppose another car at an intersection, and both of you start traveling through that intersection, people assume you are going straight if you don't have on your blinker. If you are turning left and don't have on your blinker, let's just say that they have a good argument on their hands if you try to say they hit you unprovoked. Actually, it was your fault for not signaling. You didn't communicate your intentions.

Pedestrians appreciate the use of blinkers, too. It helps them understand that you are really not trying to plow them over, but have a specific intent in mind.

Use your blinkers. They communicate your intentions, and show your respect for the other drivers on the road. Mostly, they will protect you from you.

Thank you.


Des_Moines_Girl said...

Ha! My feelings exactly! It seems that most cars in Iowa are sold with blinkers as an accessory and Iowans, always looking to save money, choose not to have them installed. ;-)

Marie N. said...

Standing and applauding

Scott said...

I have a push button start, so you lost me from the first sentence. I didn't read the rest of the post because I was driving and reading blogs on my wireless PDA, but I thought I could submit this comment and let you know "where I be at."


Now I'm gonna put on some makeup and read the newspaper. (you never knew, did you?)


Scott said...

Strike two against you. My blinkers push up and pull down, so you lost me again.... oops...wait...I dropped a peanut M&M in traffic. Gotta get down there and find my crunchy, melts-in-yo-mouf snack!

What's all that beeping about, anyway?

Scott said...

Respect is EARNED, man, and pedestrians don't have time to earn it from me as I drive by, so tough for them.

Why do you think "That's so pedestrian" is a pejorative ?? It's because they don't warrant respect! They are beneath us drivers.

Hey look, that guy is waving at me! HI! Hmmm he must have been in an accident...he only had one finger left!

Rick said...


Ironically, or not so much, I had an incident this morning. I was about 500' from a stop light, in the second lane. Some "gentleman" in the right lane started intentionally veering into my lane. No signal, of course. I thought he was just not paying attention, so I slowed down. He not only cut into my lane, but continued on into the turning lane.

He actually waved to thank me for letting him intrude without a blinker. I was tempted to, um, "wave" at the guy. :-x