5 Types Of Universal Hand Signals For Motorists

One of the first things you will learn in a theory driving class is how to use hand signals when driving. The signals may at first seem irrelevant but as you go on learning, you will get to see and appreciate the importance of hand signals. You will learn how the signals were developed as important tools of non-verbal communication. Your instructor should be able to explain to you proper use of hand signals brings about clarity in action, arrests ambiguity and maintains safety. Finally, you will learn that the hand signals are universal. They cut across different road users, from cyclists and pedestrians all the way to drivers and motor cyclists. Read on to learn more about the most important hand signals and why shouldn’t take any of them for granted.

Left and right turn

It all depends with where the driver’s seat is placed. If for instance the seat is on the left hand side, you will use the left arm to indicate signals. The position changes from one country to another depending on a country’s traffic rules. Most driving lessons in Malden insist on learning how to drive both left and right hand driven vehicles for this reason. Mastering the basics when driving either cars will in the end mean you won’t have problems driving in a foreign country.


To turn left, gently extend your left arm out of the window. Your palm should face the road ahead to enable the cars behind you see the back of your hand and correctly interpret your hand signal. Then to turn right, slowly place the upper part of your right arm on the window base and gently lift your forearm towards the sky. The back of your hand should be clearly seen by all the vehicles behind you.

 Stopping and slowing down

The aim here is to of course, indicate that you intend to slow down or stop. Simply extend your left arm out of the window then place the upper part on the window base. The lower part of your forearm should face the ground so that your palm can be easily seen by the immediate vehicle behind you.

The obstacle signal

This is perhaps one of the most important hand signals you will learn about. The signal can save the life of the motorist behind you or spell doom. Its aim is to indicate that there is an obstacle or a dangerous foreign object on the road. Your signal should be clear enough to pass across the message that one should slow down or avoid the obstacle on the road altogether. Extend your right or left arm depending on the vehicle you drive and point at the obstacle with your finger fully extended.

Requesting driver behind to reduce speed or to stop

Speed is always an issue while on the road. Fortunately, you can use hand signals to request the driver behind to reduce speed. The signal can come in handy when your tail and break lights fail. Open the palm of your left or right hand depending on which side of the car you’re driving from.  Your palm should face the road. Push it up and down slowly until the driver behind you slows down. To request the driver to stop, make the palm of your hand face directly face the oncoming driver.

Points to note

Hand signals are not meant for just automobile drivers only. They are meant to aid other road users as well. Remember it is all about safety. You can, for instance, warn a cyclist behind you about an obstacle on the road or that you want to turn left or right.

6 Driving Distractions You Must Avoid At All Costs

There is no doubt about it, driving requires one’s full attention.  It does not end there as it also calls for proper coordination between the driver’s mind and the body. Unfortunately, it is hard to pay full attention to the steering wheel while on the road all the time. You will at some point engage in secondary activities which are more or less distractions that can cause more harm than good. So try the best you can to stay alert and focused. Then while at it, remember that the following distractions can be extremely dangerous.

Looking at other drivers

You may be trying to read a sticker on the car in front of you or looking at some other drivers on the road just to pass time while driving. Either way, it is a distraction that can easily result in fatal consequences. It gets worse where one stares at a car not just to admire it but to make sense of the car’s make and model.  To avoid such kind of distractions, keep both hands on the steering and focus on the car ahead as well as the one behind using the rear view mirror.

Adjusting car settings

This happens all the time. One moment you want to adjust your mirrors, the next you want to switch between radio channels or adjust your seat belt. You drive a few miles then it hits you that it’s too cold or too hot in the car, so you adjust the AC. You may imagine you are in control, but you aren’t. Your mind can multitask but only to a certain level. Even if it can multitask, the road or highway is the last place you world want to test your multitasking skills. Simply ensure that your car settings are on point before you can start driving.

Admiring outside scenery

It is hard to ignore some billboards. It is equally hard to ignore some building murals as you drive. Unfortunately, there is little one can do to curb such habits. It all boils down to discipline. One thing’s for sure though. Your instructor will tell you for a fact that you can always slow down and safely park at a convenient spot by the side of the road to check out whatever caught your attention.

Checking on children

Research actually shows that women are more likely to keep an eye on their children than men as they drive. This can be dangerous especially where one doesn’t have someone else in the car to keep an eye on the kids onboard. A good solution would be to have your kid occupied with toys and books so that they do not distract you as you drive. You may also consider hiring someone just to watch over your young ones o board. Do this especially when you plan to go on a long trip on the road.

Grooming and preening

People hardly have time for themselves anymore. Much of what people do always involves another action by the side. So people drive as they groom. The danger is obvious. You will either knock another car or veer off the road. The solution, just like the danger, is obvious. Simply don’t groom as you drive!

Eating and drinking

You can eat and drink as you drive but be keen on your speed. Don’t be mistaken, it is not only eating and drinking that should really concern you. Most of the time it is the process of unwrapping or opening a drink that can easily distract you. Basically, it all boils down to avoiding distractions as you drive.

If you want to learn how to drive safely, book a course at a driving school in Malden and get educated on the right driving habits to keep!