Re "Turn Away From Selfish Behavior: Use Your Signal," Voices, Feb. 9: I share professor John Allswang's irritation over self-centered drivers who don't care enough about others to use their turn signals. Making matters worse, the antisocials are abetted by the clueless. Many left-turners waiting at a red light start to signal only after the light changes. The rest of us have been conditioned to expect this behavior and change to the right lane, blocking those who had hoped to turn right on the red light. Maybe the frustrated right-turners take it out on somebody else. And on it goes.
Jan C. Gabrielson
Indeed there are increasing numbers of drivers who neglect to use their turn signals. But I believe that the professor missed the main reason that this is so. In order to activate the turn signal, one must use the left hand. That hand is being used by more and more drivers who are talking on their cell phones, another expression of the self-centeredness of people these days. Everything that they have to say is important at all hours of the day, even when doing something that requires their full attention, like steering that other measure of modern selfishness--the SUV (or as a friend of mine likes to call them, road bullies).
Bravo for Allswang's piece on the endless slew of selfish drivers who refuse to use their turn signals. Why wouldn't you want to be helpful to your fellow motorists and let them know what you're doing? I not only drive in Santa Barbara but also ride my bicycle as well and, believe me, that is just as discouraging. I make it a point to use hand signals at every junction. Even when no one is around, I try to stay in the habit, so I don't even have to decide if I should signal or not. And, ultimately, that may well be a driver's main dilemma: contemplating a turn signal at all.
Trevor A. Guilbault
I must admit that on occasion I stop signaling. However, it is always in response to selfish drivers who will not allow you to change lanes, especially on the freeway when you must get on or off. After continuously attempting to merge left or right and seeing drivers speed up to prevent my move, I turn my signal off and wait for an opening to activate my signal at the last moment and move fast. Don't these selfish drivers ever need to change lanes?
I agree with Allswang that people have a disregard for others on the road when they fail to use turn signals. Even worse is that peace officers, especially LAPD and CHP, seldom, if ever, use them. Of course they sometimes have a legitimate law enforcement reason, but usually it's their "I don't have to, so I'm not going to" attitude that lowers the bar, which I hope most citizens know better than to follow. Unfortunately, L.A.'s finest aren't when it comes to driving.
I would disagree with Allswang's statement that "by a conservative estimate, 20% to 25% of California drivers have stopped using their turn signals." I would say that only 20% to 25% of drivers do use turn signals. However, he is right on when he says that this is a matter not only of safety but even more so of courtesy.