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Hill Starts


Giving signals correctly

(imagine you're behind me)

Everything written about signals stresses the following simple points:

  • Where necessary
  • Correctly timed
  • When you signal to the left or right you are the only one who really knows what your signal means
  • Other road users guess (pedestrians guess as well)
  • You've got just one chance at getting your message across to everyone else
  • It's easy to assume that just because you've signalled that everyone has seen your signal
  • But what if they haven't responded to it?
  • Yes ok, you've signalled
  • (But did you check your mirror to gauge a response from your signal?)
  • Or, do you just assume that everyone else has seen your signal?
This page might help you see it from another driver's point of view

Here's an example:

  • I signal to the left (imagine you're behind me)
  • Am I turning left at the next junction?
  • Am I stopping on the left just before the junction?
  • Am I pulling into a driveway?
  • Am I stopping on the left just after the junction?
(It's for me to know and for you to guess)

So, what should I consider before I signal?

  • I check my mirror, how close are you behind me?
  • If you are too close
  • Do I need to warn you earlier than necessary?
  • Will you understand me?

And what should I do after I signal?

  • I check my mirrors again
  • And I ask myself?
  • Did you understand me?
  • AND....
  • ....Did you respond?

Here's another example:

I signal to the right (imagine you're behind me)
  • Am I stopping on the right just before the junction?
  • Am I pulling into a driveway?
  • Am I stopping on the right just after the junction?
  • Am I turning right at the next junction?
  • Am I passing a parked vehicle on my left? This final signal causes the most confusion
(More about this further down the page)

Here's another example:

I have stopped behind a bus to allow oncoming traffic a safe path (imagine you're behind me)

When it is safe to move around the bus:

  • I will signal to you (behind me) to tell you I am going to move
  • I will signal to the bus driver warning him/her that I intend to move
  • I will signal to oncoming traffic that I intend to move around the bus and it is safe for me to do so
  • I will signal to other road users warning them also
(More about signalling to pass a stationary vehicle)
  • Signalling to the right to pass a stationary vehicle often causes confusion especially if you are close to a junction on the right
  • Large vehicles will often signal to pass parked vehicles simply because the driver is aware that you probably cannot see the parked vehicle ahead

I have not (at this stage) included how signals help pedestrians!

  • Forgetting to signal is a common mistake
  • It's often the case that the problem ahead of us is taking all of our attention and we simply forget
  • And it's easy to forget to signal when we drive a route that we use daily


  • It's at this very moment we should consider how important our signal can be
  • Many drivers forget signals because they are on a route they take day in day out
  • They probably don't realise that they haven't signalled
  • If you are ever in doubt about another road users signal then wait
  • 5 seconds lost is better than a £500 repair bill (and of course a hike in Insurance costs next year)
  • Insurance companies don't forget

Think through the scenarios above to consider how important it is to check your mirrors before you signal.

NOW go to Mirrors



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