Illegal Not to Signal? And Some Other Excellent Questions

Yes it’s illegal if you do not signal your intentions before maneuvers.

You are legally required to signal before pulling over, pulling into traffic, lane changingOpens in a new tab., parkingOpens in a new tab., merging, turning rightOpens in a new tab. and leftOpens in a new tab., etc.

And yes you can get a ticket for failing to signal your intentions.

151 – Change Lanes without Signal – $109 & 2 Penalty Points

170(1) No Signal on Turn – $121 & 2 Penalty Points

ICBC Fines & Points

More thoughts on the Illegal Not to Signal

Technically, you are required to signal if there is someone to signal to. This makes sense considering the point of a turn signal is to tell other people what you are about to do and/or would like to do! (What a concept lol)

If you are the only person around and driving at 4 AM all by yourself on the road then technically you do not have to signal.

But keep in mind you are still required to signal to any type of road user that is present. That includes pedestrians & cyclists, as well as drivers. And, this includes people that you may not notice when driving at 4 AM.

I would recommend to just do it as a regular habit. It’s not difficult and safety is improved whenever others can anticipate your actions.

Turn Signal

 Motor Vehicle Act

Signals on turning

170  (1) If traffic may be affected by turning a vehicle, a person must not turn it without giving the appropriate signal under sections 171 and 172.

(2) If a signal of intention to turn right or left is required, a driver must give it continuously for sufficient distance before making the turn to warn traffic.

(3) If there is an opportunity to give a signal, a driver must not stop or suddenly decrease the speed of a vehicle without first giving the appropriate signal under sections 171 and 172.

Means of signalling

171  (1) Subject to subsection (2), if a signal is required a driver must give it by means of

(a) his or her hand and arm,

(b) a signal lamp of a type approved by the director, or

(c) a mechanical device of a type approved by the director.

(2) When a vehicle is constructed or loaded in a manner that makes a signal by hand and arm not visible both to its front and rear, or a body or load extends more than 60 cm to the left of the centre of the steering wheel, a driver must give signals as provided by paragraph (1) (a) or (b), and a person must not drive the motor vehicle on a highway unless it is so equipped.

Is it illegal to Not Signal When Merging?

Yes, you are legally required to signal BEFORE merging

Merging onto a highway is technically the same maneuver as a lane change (you’re just driving faster)

Signals are important in this case to warn traffic that you’re planning a movement, especially during those instances where the on ramp and the off ramp is the same lane.

Do I have to Signal if I’m in a Turning Lane?


Legally you must signal if you’re in a turning lane. Sure, it’s obvious to you that you are going to turn, but what about pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicles facing you, especially those who aren’t familiar with the area?

Other road users may be planning movements, so it is best to signal to avoid confusion. Also remember that not everyone is a driver. Pedestrians who aren’t drivers are sometimes particularly clueless, so signals can help them for sure.

signal in turning lane
turn signal in left turn lane


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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