An aggravatingly high percentage of drivers on the road have demonstrated (and continue to demonstrate every day) that they have no idea (A) that their car actually HAS a turn signal

Mikel KellyToday I would like to talk about one of the most ignored features in the modern automobile.

The turn signal.

It's a small lever on your steering column, and it can be activated by pushing it up or down with your hand. Flick it one way and you cause the turn signals in the front and back of your car to blink on the left side — and flick it the other way and the lights (again, front and back) blink on the other side. You will also cause an arrow on your dashboard to blink along in unison, allowing the driver to know which direction he or she has already indicated the turn is liable to be.

This, if you haven't figured it out yet, is what they call sarcasm.

I'm going to all this trouble to introduce everyone to this device for one reason: An aggravatingly high percentage of drivers on the road have demonstrated (and continue to demonstrate every day) that they have no idea (A) that their car actually HAS a turn signal; or (B) when and how they ought to use it.So, first of all, allow me to point out that the turn signal should be employed EVERY TIME you intend to make a turn from one street, highway, road, freeway, driveway — or whatever it is you're driving on — to any other.

And yes, I meant that. Every time you turn. This should not be a controversial statement, but I'm pretty sure it is because of how many drivers don't seem to understand it.

Now, in all fairness, I don't think I understood it either — until my former brother-in-law, a long-haul trucker named Brad, convinced me how important it is. When you drive one of those 80,000-pound 18-wheelers, people who make sudden maneuvers around you without signalling their intentions are not just self-centered and rude — they're also dangerous.

To the rest of us, it is merely maddening when you're standing on a corner, waiting to cross the street and an oncoming car comes right up to you and then — surprise! — makes a turn.

Or, you get behind a car at a stoplight, waiting patiently for it to go straight through the intersection until the light changes and then — surprise! — they THEN turn on their signal and wait to make the turn with you stuck behind them, even though you could have pulled up next to them and gone through the light immediately.

So, here is my point No. 2 about bad turn signal protocol: It is not OK to turn on your signal AFTER the light changes. That does not do anyone any good.

I prefer to think of it this way. Failure on your part to signal a turn — and yes, I'm still saying EVERY turn — is like a giant neon sign on the top of your car that tells the world in bright, shiny lights, "This vehicle is being operated by a world-class idiot who does not care about any other cars (or drivers) on the road."

I would now like to add a personal note to this diatribe because I'm sure that I'm insufferingly boring on this topic — just like I am when I talk about politics, music, social media, baggy pants, bad manners, religion, guitar players, treatment of women, food, movies, cellphones and pretty much everything else there is to talk about. Hell, on most of these subjects I even bore myself.

And that personal note is to add what the other person who lives at our house always says whenever I get to fuming about the driving habits of the other motorists around me — like the ones who seem to be on Ambien they're so slow getting through an intersection — "Hey, Kelly! Why don't you try to be a little mellower, like me?"

It always makes me laugh real loud. You see, she's no mellower than me. But God, she's a whole lot better looking.

You also may notice that I have gone way out of my way not to mention my fellow senior citizens who drive all the way from Seaside to Gresham with their turn signal on because they can't see the blinking arrow in front of them OR hear its persistent ticking. Hey, who hasn't gone a few miles without noticing those things?

Mikel Kelly has been retired for three years now and has way too much time on his hands to be thinking about some of these bizarre

issues. We've tried to talk some sense into him, but so far it hasn't taken.

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