Driving Foundations: How to Indicate Correctly

Jack Dreyer | Monday 29th April 2024 9:30am

Cars driving on a well lit wet road at night.

Using your vehicle's indicators isn't just about following the rules; it's a crucial way to communicate your intentions to other drivers. Despite this, signalling is often overlooked or forgotten, leading to moments of confusion and potential danger on the road.

Ensuring you use your indicators correctly is more than just a habit or a requirement; it's a key part of safe driving that lets everyone on the road, including pedestrians, know what you’re going to do. In this blog, we cover why signalling is so important, the right way to do it, and the impact it has on road safety and driving etiquette. Let's get back to basics and learn how to use our signals effectively, making the roads safer for everyone.

The basics of indicating

Ensuring your vehicle's indicators are working correctly is critical for your own safety and also other road users as it allows you to be able to see and help others to see you. The basics of indicating are grounded in the principle of communication on the road - they are an essential tool for conveying your intentions to other drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians.

When to indicate

It is crucial to indicate to alert others around you of your intention to turn, change lanes, or perform certain manoeuvres that involve directional change.

Knowing when to use your indicators helps ensure the safety of all road users, including pedestrians, cyclists, and other drivers. Here’s a comprehensive guide on when to indicate:

  • Before turning left or right
  • When changing lanes and merging
  • Signalling at roundabouts
  • During parking manoeuvres

The key to effectively indicating lies in timing; signals should be activated well in advance of your action but not so early that they confuse other road users about when the action will take place.

Person flicking an indicator up.

Why indicating correctly is important

Indicating correctly is paramount in driving for several crucial reasons that underscore the practice's importance in road safety, legal compliance, and overall driving etiquette.


The primary importance of correctly using turn signals cannot be overstressed when it comes to safety. Indicating allows other road users to anticipate your next move, significantly reducing the likelihood of collisions. For example, if you signal before changing lanes, it gives cyclists, motorists, and pedestrians time to adjust their speed or position to maintain a safe distance.

Legal requirements

The law requires drivers to use their turn signals before turning, changing lanes, or performing certain manoeuvres. Failing to indicate can lead to traffic violations, fines, and even points on your driver's licence. Legal mandates underline the universal acknowledgment of the importance of turn signals in maintaining road safety.

Etiquette and road consideration

Using your turn signals is also a matter of courtesy. It shows respect for other road users by acknowledging their right to be informed of your driving manoeuvres. This encourages others to also communicate their intentions effectively, which can help alleviate traffic congestion and reduce road rage incidents.

Common mistakes to avoid

Among the common mistakes to avoid when it comes to indicating. Not using your indicators as a turn signal at all can lead to dangerous situations, as other road users have no warning of your intentions to turn or change lanes. This lack of communication can result in sudden braking, swerving, and ultimately, collisions, as others are caught off guard by your unexpected manoeuvres.

Late indicating is also a common mistake people make, this doesn't give other drivers or pedestrians enough time to react appropriately, which may cause chain reaction accidents.

Close up of a car indicating right.

Practical tips and reminders

When it comes to indicating properly, incorporating a few practical tips and reminders into your driving habits can significantly enhance road safety and communication. Here’s some simple tips and reminders for indicating effectively:

  • Check your indicators regularly - Regularly ensure that all your turn signals are working correctly. This includes front, back, and side indicators. A quick check before you start driving can prevent signalling issues on the road.
  • Signal early enough - Ensure you indicate with enough time to give other drivers and pedestrians notice of your intentions. However, signalling too early can sometimes confuse others if there’s an intersection or driveway before your actual turn.
  • Practise good habits - Even if you believe no one is around, always use your signal. Other drivers, cyclists, or pedestrians might be in your blind spot or somewhere you can’t see.
  • Be mindful of signal cancellation - Some vehicles automatically cancel the signal after a turn, or even before if you make a slight turn, but it's always good to manually ensure that your signal has stopped after the manoeuvre. Accidentally leaving your signal on can mislead others.
  • Educate yourself on the rules - Familiarise yourself with the changes in regulations regarding how and when to use your turn signals.

Keeping drivers safe on the road

If you are in any doubt, or find that you have a blown or faulty indicator bulb, pop into your nearest Kwik Fit centre where our trained staff can supply and fit these for you. Don’t chance it, check your bulbs today.

For more advice on navigating roads and driving best practices, be sure to keep up with the Kwik Fit blog. If you have been experiencing any problems with your indicators or just feel you need a checkup to make sure your car is roadworthy, get in touch with our team of experts today at your local centre.

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