Ranting transport

Indicator rant

Look, I know it’s hard to use your car’s indicators properly. Having that little switch so close to your hands on the steering wheel, and remembering to use it to… err… indicate… obviously there isn’t enough training in this when learning to drive.

I’ll give you a few specific hints though.

  • To the guy in Prahran on Sunday morning: When you’re driving straight across an intersection, don’t put your left indicator on. Naturally I, the pedestrian who is crossing in front of you, am going to step back when realising what you’re really up to. The little wave to acknowledge this was gracious, but I’m hardly likely to do anything different, am I? Jumping in front of your car doesn’t seem like a sensible option. My repeatedly opening/closing my hand at you wasn’t designed to prompt that puzzled look you gave, but to prompt you to look at your damn indicator, which was still merrily flashing as you went past.
  • Same guy: I suppose on some levels it’s kind of amusing that you kept driving down to the end of that street with your indicator on, then turned it off at the end to turn. It doesn’t matter if it was a T-junction — you’re still meant to indicate when you turn. Either your indicators need some maintenance work, or perhaps you need to be sent to a re-education camp to learn how they’re really meant to be used.
  • The guy coming out of the service station in Carnegie on Sunday afternoon: you were turning right out of the servo to get to the intersection. Fine, all very good, first class. But your indicator stayed on afterwards. Which is why I drove around you. It was still clicking away. Since you weren’t turning at the intersection, switching the indicator off would have been a good idea, to avoid me thinking I can zoom away from the lights and then merge right… straight into your car.
  • The guy in South Caulfield on Monday morning: I drove up behind you to join the line waiting at the traffic lights. Yeah I could have taken the nearly empty left-hand lane, but it’s kinda bad etiquette if everyone else is queuing and nobody’s turning right. Besides you have the hassle of merging back. So I queued. We must have all been there a good thirty seconds. I even left a gap in case someone further up in the line decided at the last minute to turn. What I didn’t expect or appreciate was you waiting until the light turned green and we all started moving (including more cars coming up behind and to the left of me) and then changing your mind. That’s why I beeped my horn in frustration as I drove around you. Hint: the indicator is for indicating. Indicating to turn. Indicating to turn before you actually do it. A little forward planning is required, that’s all I’m saying.
  • To the P-plater zooming along behind me in Carnegie on Saturday: Yes I saw you back there. Yes your car zooms along. Very — yawn — impressive. You can tailgate with the best of them. Bully for you for living up to the P-plater cliché. I indicated a right hand turn in plenty of time, so you could spot it, slow down, and get around me. You only have yourself to blame that you took no notice until I’d slowed right down, then had to jerkily get around me at speed. I indicate, you notice and take timely appropriate action. That’s how it’s meant to work.

By Daniel Bowen

Transport blogger / campaigner and spokesperson for the Public Transport Users Association / professional geek.
Bunurong land, Melbourne, Australia.
Opinions on this blog are all mine.

6 replies on “Indicator rant”

Insert different details (ie. I don’t think I’ve ever even been to Carnegie?) and you’ve summed-up my feelings on indicators. I often wonder whether it is only my cars that actually make a faint noise when the indicators are on, or whether everyone else just has their music up too loud to hear the tick-tock-tick-tock? Never mind the flashing light on the dash board!

At least their using ’em. We poor few who use ’em are sadly outnumbered by those idiots who don’t. The few times I don’t use them is when I’m trying not to crash in to some jackass who stops suddenly to make a turn without using their indicators. This is one of the reasons I hate driving.

I must say, the next time someone “forgets” to use their indicators near me, I have a plan. I’m going to pull up beside them and let them know that they aren’t working. The only comeback can be “I didn’t use them” to which a look of scorn will follow!

So many cars out there and so many times no indicators are used…. Grrr!!! bane of my driving existance.

Leo, there’s no point using them if they’re not used right. If you’re going to indicate when you don’t want to turn, might as well not bother at all…

No Ren, the P-plater was a bloke… on this occasion.

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