To Indicate or Not … that is the question

I often wonder what people expect to achieve when using their indicators.

Why would you need to indicate when joining a dual carriageway or motorway from a slip road – there are no other choices.

What, then, should an indicator be used for? Is it an indication of your intention or your wish?

My interpretation is to advise my fellow road users that I am turning right or left, changing lanes on a motorway or, in the case of a single carriageway, overtaking a vehicle (or passing something in the road) to such a degree that I am in fact moving out onto the adjoining carriageway.

At roundabouts you should indicate right to go around the roundabout and then left to exit as you pass the previous exit.

However, if you are stationary at traffic lights and in a filter lane, especially at night, there is no need to leave your indicator on. Also, there is no need to indicate if your intended maneuver is not affecting someone else.

Alongside and essential to your use of indicators is of course the use of mirrors.
Nowadays we have three and in my humble opinion, generally, we do not use the inside wing mirror enough. On motorways, regularly ‘panning’ all your mirrors means you do not get ‘caught out’ by the ambulance trying to overtake you and should you need to pull over, for whatever reason, you know you are safe to do so by being aware of ‘your space’.
As you leave a roundabout you should always check the inside mirror for the bike that has sneaked onto your inside or come from the exit you have just passed. In the past I have had a car, which was on my inside, sweep right across my ‘bows’ to turn right on a roundabout on a dual carriageway without any indication.

The Author, Robbie Dunster, is a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM). Opinions expressed are his and not necessarily those of the IAM.

Robbie is the Managing Director of Unicorn Courtesy Cars 01305 761166