My number one pet peeve is when people don’t use their turn signals.

It may sound silly, considering that hardly anyone ever does use their blinker these days. But it absolutely drives me crazy. And it’s one of the few things I can say with confidence that I am not a hypocrite on.

I’ve had passengers make fun of the fact that I use my blinker while turning into a parking space in an empty parking lot at night. But I do. It’s just habit. It’s VERY easy to do, seeing as how your hand has to brush past it to turn the steering wheel anyway. And it’s safe. And, oh hey, guess what, it’s the law.

The only time I’ve ever confronted another driver it was because he didn’t use his signal.

I was driving from my church to Round Table to have lunch with several families from church. At the intersection with two left turn lanes, I was in the right-most one, and a truck was in the left-most one. He sped faster through the intersection, but as we had nearly completed the turn, he started to change lanes into my lanes… and subsequently, into my car. He must not have seen me, or was not paying attention. But regardless, had he used his blinker, I could have known his intentions before he acted and I could’ve honked nicely, instead of laying on the horn and the brakes frantically like I was forced to do.

I had just been in a car-totaling, foot-breaking, head-aching accident the month before, so of course I was even more sensitive to this type of inconsiderate behavior than I normally would be.

So I slowed to a sudden stop while laying on my horn, and he didn’t even turn around, didn’t slow down or speed up or stay in his original lane. He just proceeded like he was unaware that anything had happened. I still don’t know if he was oblivious or just non-confrontational. But I am confrontational.

I was fuming. (This is not my normal reaction. This is one of only 2 times I’ve ever had road rage.) And unfortunately for him, he pulled into the same shopping center parking lot that I was heading to for lunch.  Had I not been sure where he was heading, I would’ve let it lie, but just in case he was coming into Round Table for lunch too, I was going to take care of this then and there.

He was still in his truck when I marched up to his window and rapped my knuckle on the glass, startling him.  He was in his 40s, and much bigger and stronger than I. So there I stood, in my church dress, a 22-year-old girl, red in the face, confronting him.

“Hi.” I said sternly when he lowered the window. “Did you see me back there, in the intersection, when you almost hit me as you changed lanes??” I asked, spitting the words at him.

“Oh, um, no.”

“Well, that would explain why you kept on course and made me slam on my breaks. Didn’t hear my horn, either huh?”

“No,” he said, startled, fumbling, looking down.
“Well hey, can you do me a favor? Use your freaking turn signal when you change lanes. Alright? You could hit someone.”


“So what are you going to do next time?” I asked patronizingly.

“I’m gonna use my blinker, and look better.”

“Good!” I said, feeling justified, but not knowing what else to say now. “Maybe try not cutting people off, too.”

“I will,” he said, embarrassed.

“Good. OK. Thanks,” I said as my anger deflated and I walked into lunch.

I was ready to fight him in the intersection, but by the end of our short interchange I realized I was really just mad that he hadn’t indicated his intentions and had nearly caused me (and potentially himself) harm.

I find that I am bothered by this in life in general.  I hate the relational games we play. I hate wishy washy interactions. Ambiguous relationships are not my forte. I don’t need a label on things, I just need honesty. I want to know where I stand, whether it’s good or bad. I want to know people’s intentions so that I can react honestly, directly, and promptly.

Not exclusively, but especially in the field of potentially romantic/flirty interactions I wish that there was a “love blinker”. Something that people could and should use to indicate their intentions.

I long for the days when boys had to ask girls to dance. Now everyone’s just out on the dance floor and the dance style is such that when you are in close proximity to one another you may or may not be “dancing together”.

I think that a lot of awkward interactions and ambiguous standings would be eliminated if people were just honest and up-front, and everyone was brave enough to react honestly, too. (Boy: I’d like to get to know you more. Me: I’m not interested in dating you, but I’d like to become friends and to see you around at group things. — yeah maybe that sucks a little, but it’s like tearing off a band-aid, and then the normalcy is restored.)

If a guy approaches me, under the guise of friendliness, then he needs to be prepared to stay in the friend zone unless he communicates to me some other direct intentions/desires.

Subsequently, if a guy approaches me in a friends way, and then I start to get the jist that he is not really looking for friendship, but NOT being direct about what he wants, then I will swerve out of the lane, leaving him alone, or I will be forced to lay on my horn for fear of collision.

It works in the opposite way too, though. If the intentions are romantic, and a person indicates this, then I can be prepared to make room to let them in.

Have you ever been on the highway when someone, without a blinker, seems to be slowly drifting from one lane to another, and you’re not sure if they’re doing it intentionally, or if they’re unaware of themselves or nodding off or something?

That’s the way most people “fall” in love these days. Thats how they begin dating. Thats how they get to know people. Without intention or communication. And sometimes it works, and you end up in the next lane. But sometimes there are unknown factors, sometimes you’re drifting into somewhere that may cause a collision.

If you’d use your love blinker, then people could just politely tap their horn and let you know that you need to wait a minute.

If you don’t, you cause people to lay on the horn, swerve, or crash. It’s much messier for everyone involved, and even if there’s no harm, you might get a pretty little girl like me worked up enough that she’s hunting you down in the parking lot to tell you not to be an ass next time, and to use your freaking blinker. Even if you were unaware of what you were doing. Especially if you were unaware of what you were doing.

It’s about knowing your own intentions, and communicating them to keep people safe, and to keep the peace on the road, and in life.

So please, use your blinker.

End note: For drivers and lovers… when someone uses their blinker, respond kindly but honestly. They’re being considerate enough to let you know their intentions. Either make room, or give a little honk to let them know you’re not ready for them yet. It’s as simple as that.

Joanna O’Hanlon is an adventurer and storyteller. She tries to be honest about the ugly and hard parts of life, and the beautiful parts too. This blog is one of the places she shares her thoughts and stories.

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