When the Massachusetts Department of Transportation decided to display a new message on its electronic message boards throughout the Boston area a few weeks ago, they hoped to catch the attention of drivers who might otherwise forget an important state law. In a dialect instantly recognizable to Bay State motorists, the department advised drivers to “Use Yah Blinkah” when changing lanes.
Massachusetts law requires drivers to indicate their intent to change lanes by signaling with their blinkers. Considering that some 4,967 traffic citations were issued by police for Failure to Signal in 2013 alone, it is obvious that the law is often ignored. As with other forms of negligent or careless driving, the results are often tragic. If you’re been injured by another driver’s failure to properly indicate a lane change or other turn, contacting an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney is crucial to ensuring you obtain compensation for the injuries you’ve sustained.
Indicating a Turn
After passing the driver’s test and getting a license, many drivers never look at the Rules of the Road again. If it’s been awhile since you reviewed the Rules, it might be time for a refresher course. According to the Massachusetts Driver’s Manual, drivers are expected to drive straight ahead unless they show otherwise by using a signal. Signals are usually electronic, but hand signals are to be used if the vehicle’s “blinkah” is not working properly. Signals are required before making any move in traffic, including lane changes, turns at intersections, turns into driveways, pulling away from a curb, pulling to the side of the road, and getting onto or off of a freeway.
Other Important Rules of the Road
Did you realize that you can get a ticket for speeding even if you are not exceeding the posted speed limit? That’s because Massachusetts state law required drivers to lower their speed when driving conditions are poor or when there are hazards. “Driving conditions” can include traffic flow, road surface, weather, and visibility. “Hazards” includes bicyclists, pedestrians, etc.
Most roadways have posted speed limits. The speed limit on interstates are usually between 50 and 65 mph, while other highways limit speed to 55 mph or lower. Some roads, such as the Massachusetts Turnpike, also have minimum speeds. The turnpike minimum speed is 40 mph. While driving through the Boston Harbor tunnels, drivers should maintain a minimum speed of 20 mph. Even in areas where no minimum speed is posted, a police officer has authority to order a driver to the side the road if the driver is slowing traffic.
Another law that is often broken is the requirement that motorists stop at a yellow light if it is safe to do so. Everyone knows that a normal red light means “stop,” but it bears mentioning that a steady red arrow requires that motorists traveling in the direction of the arrow come to a stop and not make their turn until the light turns green again. A flashing red light is the equivalent of a stop sign, requiring drivers to come to a complete stop before proceeding through the intersection. Another important rule to remember pertains to white stop lines and crosswalk lines: motorists must come to a complete stop BEFORE the line, not after partially crossing it.
What to do if Another Driver Ignores the Rules of the Road and Causes an Accident
Cape Cod attorney John C. Manoog III is an experienced trial lawyer who can advice you with respect to any car accident claim that you may have, including wrecks caused by another driver’s failure to obey the Rules of the Road. Call (888) 262-6664 or contact us to schedule an appointment. Someone will be available to discuss your case, and the initial consultation is free of charge.
Related Blog Posts:
How the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s V2V Mandate Will Change Massachusetts’ Car Accident Cases, Feb. 5, 2014, Cape Cod Injury Lawyer Blog
National Transportation Safety Board Urges States to Reduce Allowable Blood-Alcohol Limit, May. 16, 2013, Cape Cod Injury Lawyer Blog