Signalling (indicating) when driving is a simple safety and courtesy task that many of us forget to do once we have obtained that all important full drivers licence.


Whether individuals simply forget to signal or they think it's no longer important the truth is that correct and timely signalling is vitally important. Failure to indicate; in good time and properly can, and frequently does, cause accidents


Should you indicate when pulling away from the road side?


Basically if any other road user, even a pedestrian, will benefit from seeing your signal, then the answer is yes. If there is no one around, then a signal is not necessary. If in doubt signal.


However, use caution. If you are ready to move off and you notice a vehicle approaching from the rear to pass you, do not indicate off if you intend on waiting for them to pass. The effect of this can cause the approaching vehicle to slow down or stop to let you pull away or to swerve around you. Wait till the vehicle has passed and if all clear, signal if necessary.




Should you indicate when pulling over to stop at the kerb?


Indicating when pulling over follows the same rules as when pulling away. If anyone will benefit, you must signal your intentions to park up. If no one will benefit, it is not necessary to indicate.


Should you indicate when overtaking a cyclist?


Whether to indicate when overtaking a cyclist depends entirely on the situation. If for example you are driving and notice a cyclist ahead and there is oncoming traffic, it then depends on the width of the road. If the road is wide enough to overtake the cyclist safely, but may result in your car being positioned a little towards the centre of the road, a signal will benefit the oncoming traffic as it will show them your intentions of overtaking the cyclist.


During the same situation, if the road isn't wide enough to pass the cyclist which will result in you needing to drastically slow down behind the cyclist to wait for oncoming vehicles to pass, as signal may be of benefit to vehicles behind. If you feel a vehicle is driving a little too close behind you, or that they may not see the cyclist you intend on slowing down for, a signal to the right before slowing down will provide the vehicles behind with a clearer indication of a potential hazard ahead.


It is however on the few occasions such as this that you should indicate when overtaking a cyclist. You must not simply indicate when passing every cyclist, you meet as this will ultimately cause confusion with drivers thinking you are making a turn at a junction or driveway. You must assess each situation and indicate only if you think the benefits of doing so will increase the safety of yourself and others


Do you indicate around parked cars?


Generally, it is not necessary to indicate around parked cars. There can however be the occasional exception and again this is down to the particular situation.


If for example you are travelling along a narrow road, a vehicle is behind you, up ahead are parked cars on your side of the road but you need to wait behind the parked vehicles to allow an oncoming vehicle to pass. In this situation due to the road being very narrow, the vehicle behind may not see the parked cars and when you stop, they may interpret this as you parking up. Indicating to the right in this situation would be safer as it will provide the vehicle behind with a clear indication of your intentions.


Should you indicate when overtaking?


Yes, you must always indicate when overtaking another moving vehicle whether on a single or dual carriageway or the car you are overtaking will obviously benefit from your signal. Before moving back in front of the car you have overtaken it is not mandatory to signal your intention of moving back onto your side of the road. The overtaken car should be sufficiently far behind you when you pull in to its lane for there to be no benefit to him from your signal. Only do so if it will benefit other road users.


Should you indicate at a roundabout?


Again the simple answer is: Yes, if it benefits other road users. See the roundabout fact sheet for details of the process.


Should you indicate at a mini roundabout?


The same applies here as for full roundabouts. However, there may be times when, at multiple mini roundabouts it is not practical to give a complete set of signals.


Should you signal during the turn in the road / 3-point turn?


No there is no need to signal during the turn in the road. If there is a vehicle, cyclist or pedestrian that may be affected by you performing this manoeuvre, you will need to wait until it is clear. Therefore, there will never be a need to indicate.


Should you signal during the reverse around a corner?


As you are attempting this manoeuvre, you will drive a short distance past the left turn you intend on reversing into. Just as pulling over, you may need to signal to other road users your intention of stopping the car. Generally, elsewhere during the manoeuvre, there isn't a need to signal.


Should you signal when parallel parking?


There should not be any need to signal during this manoeuvre.


Indicating when merging onto a dual carriage way / motorway


In good time on the way down the slip road signal. Once you have merged with traffic on the carriageway, cancel your signal.


Indicating when changing lanes


Whether on a motorway, dual carriageway or in a one-way-system in a city or town, you must indicate your intention to change lane if other vehicles are present. Remember to cancel your signal.


Indicate to leave a motorway or dual carriageway


Dual carriageways and motorways display markers in the form of 3 dashes (300 yards), 3 dashes (200 yards) and 1 dash (100 yards) from the exit junction. You must indicate at the Signal when you get to the 300-yard marker. You may signal a little later as speeds lower than 70mph as long as you give suitable warning to other road users. However, there is no reason to delay your signal.


How far in advance should you signal before making a turn


In good time. Roughly in residential areas you should signal around 30 meters (100 feet) in advance of making a right or left turn. This is assuming there are no other turns on the same side of the road before the turn you intend on taking, else you will need to signal after this turn.


For high speed roads this distance increases. 70 mph dual carriageways for instance, signalling should start from around 300yards from your exit.