With the advancement of technology and infrastructure, our lives have become far more fast-paced over the years. Our time is precious and we do not want to spend all this time travelling when we could be spending it with our family and loved ones. Consideration for other road users often comes second to our desire to reach our destinations.
A good driver should not only be able to drive well, but should also be aware of his or her fellow road users. The oft-forgotten indicators, or, flickers, are an integral part of a motor vehicle’s control system, yet many experienced drivers often neglect to indicate in a proper manner, or even at all.
If you were taught to drive by a family member, chances are you’ve received a rebuke along the lines of “indicate your intention, not your action”. What this saying implies is that you start the indicating process before you take the intended action. Indicators are a proactive tool to avoid confusion on the roads, and go a long way to preventing accidents.
The National Road Traffic Act holds that any driver intending to stop, suddenly reduce speed, turn the vehicle left or right, or move the vehicle to the left or right on the roadway shall give a conspicuous signal of his or her intention, and of a sufficient duration to warn surrounding road users of his or her intention.
Regulation 193 of the National Road Traffic Act provides that no person shall operate a motor vehicle on a public road, unless it is equipped on both sides with either the flasher type or illuminated window-type direction indicators. The only time that this regulation does not apply is in respect of a motorcycle, which was registered for the first time before 1 July 1976, or any motor vehicle, which, according to its registration certificate is older than 40 years.
Even the above exceptions cannot justify non-indicating, as the National Road Traffic Act makes provision for hand signals. According to the Act, to indicate a prospective left turn the driver should extend his or her right arm sideward from the shoulder with the forearm in a vertical and downward position and move his or her forearm in a circular anti-clockwise motion. To indicate a right turn the driver extends his or her right arm and hand sideward from the shoulder and fully horizontal to the road with the palm of the hand turned to the front.
Of course, with the advent of modern vehicles, the use of hand signals is rendered mostly unnecessary. The National Road Traffic Act provides that instead of hand signals, the driver of a vehicle which is fitted with direction indicators shall signal his or her intention to turn or move to the left or right by operating the relevant direction indicator of the vehicle. The Act further holds that a driver who has put a direction indicator into operation to signal his or her intention to turn or move across to the left or right shall cease to keep such indicator in operation as soon as the need to signal has passed.
Although it may seem like a tedious and obvious precaution at times, failing to indicate is a traffic violation, which can result in a traffic fine and may also cause a severe roadcrash.
To promote a harmonious relationship between road users and no matter the experience of the driver or the circumstance under which we are driving, proper use of a vehicle’s indicators should always be observed. In a country where there are such high numbers of motor vehicle crashes yearly, the simple gesture of correctly using a vehicle’s indicators can create a safer driving environment for all our fellow road users.