Hand Signals For Driving – Quickly Learn 3 Easy & Simple

hand signals for driving

Hand signals for driving?

Obviously cars have turn signals, so why would we need hand signals for driving? Some new drivers simply don’t think about this.

Some people don’t realize that when the turn signal suddenly burns out, they are supposed to be sticking their arm out the window to signal their intentions to other drivers.

Otherwise, how the h#*& are they going to have any idea where you are planning to go?

That’s right. It sounds strange, but it’s true.

Hand signals for driving: Do you ever ride your bike?

Car drivers must use the same hand signals as bicyclists.

Here’s the basic idea of hand signals for driving, since a picture is worth a thousand words:

hand signals for driving

And since a video is worth a thousand pictures…

But, ICBC examiners will ‘test you’ on this on your road test, so you do need to make sure you know what’s up.

The good news is, you don’t have to do this while driving on your road test. Just while stopped. How easy is that?

Read more about hand signalsOpens in a new tab. on Car & Driver online.

Is your turn signal burnt out?

How do you know?

Your turn signal may burn out one day, or it may malfunction.

Tiny light bulbs don’t last forever. I was thinking that since we are in 2020 and everything, there might be an everlasting light bulb. Oh well.

Sometimes they seem to last almost forever, which is nice. But sooner or later, you may find yourself needed one.

So how do you even know if you need one? We always recommend that drivers regularly check your turn signals to make sure they’re still alive and well.

You can even do this without ever getting out of your car. You could do it the hard way, with the car parked, get out of your car and simply walk around the car and check them.

Note that for some vehicles, you can’t simply just turn on the 4-way flashers and walk around the car and check them.

This doesn’t always give you accuracy, since the 4-way flasher sometimes runs on a separate circuit.

In that case, you’ll need to turn on the left signal and check 2 signals, and then turn on the right one and check 2 more signals.

Check your 4-way flashers for functionality, too!

Alternatively, simply drive your car up to a shiny place.

For example, drive up to a window that will show you your reflection, and then check your signals from the safety and convenience of your own automobile.

This works for the rear signals, too. Simply reverse your car up to a window or any shiny object. Check them regularly, and have them fixed as soon as possible.

Your vehicle might be able to ‘tell you’ if your turn signal is burnt out.

This happens when the turn signal flashes extra extra extra fast, or, it makes a strange new clicking sound when you turn on your signal.

This is your car trying to ‘tell you’ to do something. Remember that cars don’t always speak English or other languages, but they do try to tell you things other ways.

It’s your job to be intuitive!

Obviously, signalling your intentions with your arm out the window isn’t the best way to signal. And, this can get cold and awkward if it’s snowing or raining.

But it’s certainly better than nothing


Hand signals are something you may never have to do. But it’s important to know how to do them, just in case.That’s why ICBC would like to make sure you know how to do this.

It’s one of those things that hopefully you’ll never need, but crucial to have in your arsenal. It’s all part of being a safe driver – or as safe as you possibly can – no matter what turn signal adversities you may be dealing with.


Carmen became a driving instructor at the age of 22 in North Vancouver, Canada and is an experienced writer, blogger, photographer, artist, philosopher, certified day dreamer and generally complicated human.

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