You’ve been using your indicators all wrong – and a simple mistake could land you with a £5,000 fine

USING your indicators incorrectly could land you with a £5,000 fine and nine points on your driving licence.

Forgetting your indicators entirely can fall under either the “careless and inconsiderate driving” or “driving without due care and attention” offences – both of which carry hefty penalties.

If falling to indicate causes an accident you could be slapped with a fine, penalty points or even a driving ban


If falling to indicate causes an accident you could be slapped with a fine, penalty points or even a driving banCredit: Getty

Motoring experts at Goodbye Car warn that you could even be disqualified from driving in serious cases.

The level of fine and punishment would depend on the consequences of your failure to indicate, for instance, if you caused an accident with your inattention.

Even worse, because there are no laws around when to indicate, it’s tricky to know exactly what you should be doing.

While it’s important to signal your intentions, it’s also critical not to unnecessarily use signals or to leave your indicators on when you’ve finished your manoeuvre.

The highway code has rules about indicating, but this is guidance which explains what you should be doing. These are:

  • give clear signals in plenty of time, having checked it is not misleading to signal at that time
  • use them to advise other road users before changing course or direction, stopping or moving off
  • cancel them after use
  • make sure your signals will not confuse others. If, for instance, you want to stop after a side road, do not signal until you are passing the road. If you signal earlier it may give the impression that you intend to turn into the road. Your brake lights will warn traffic behind you that you are slowing down
  • use an arm signal to emphasise or reinforce your signal if necessary. Remember that signalling does not give you priority.

Mark Royal, operations manager at Goodbye Car, says: “Knowing when (and when not!) to indicate is a skill of its own, given there are no black and white rules, but it’s incredibly important to learn when they should be used for the safety of yourself and other motorists.”

The website says: “If a driver is too lazy to indicate and their lack of actions is a direct result of an accident, they may face a charge of careless driving.”

Goodbye Car has shared its top tips to make sure you’re on the right side of the rules and can avoid fines and penalties.

Mirrors, Signal, Manoeuvre

Whenever you want to make a manoeuvre, check your mirrors to make sure it’s safe to so do then signal your intentions to fellow drivers before moving

Signal at the right time

Indicating in plenty of time can actually cause problems for other drivers.

For example, signalling too early could give the impression that you’re changing lanes or making an earlier turn.

Only signal when you’re approaching the turn you wish to make.

Cancel your indicators after use

Remembering to use your indicators at the right time is one thing, but remembering to cancel them is just as important.

If you keep signalling after you’ve made your move, other drivers may be expecting you to take another turn or change lanes.

Signal manually

If you’re worried about other motorists not seeing your signal, signal manually to make sure.

Do this by waving out of your car window and making the appropriate arm movements.

If in doubt, signal

Indicators should be used to signal any manoeuvre that isn’t moving straight ahead on the road.

This includes changing lanes, turning a corner, taking an exit, turning off a roundabout, and pulling over to the side of the road.

If you’re about to move and you’re unsure of whether indicators are needed, it’s always safer to signal to drivers around you than to risk causing an accident.

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