Have you ever encountered offensive drivers or outright rude people sharing the road with you? How about drivers motioning to you that your roof rack is loose by flapping their arms wildly like dancers on “Soul Train”? Communication between motorists can disintegrate into frantic pantomime without the right gestures and signals. To better facilitate communication between motorists, the National Motorist Association has developed seven signals. Use these seven signals to get the message across accurately and with a little love.
1. THE APOLOGY SIGNAL
Cut someone off or pull out in front of a car at the last minute? Don’t do this. But if you did, show a little humility and respect with the “Apology Signal.” To make the apology signal, hold two fingers in a “V” position, palm out. Peace, man.
2. SLOW DOWN, DANGER AHEAD
Is there large debris lying in the road creating a dangerous hazard? To warn traffic approaching from the opposite direction, turn your headlights off and on. To signal traffic approaching from the rear, tap your brake lights or extend your left arm and motion downward.
3. LANE COURTESY (PLEASE YIELD LEFT LANE)
Want to make Miss Manners proud? Use this signal before trying to pass a slow-moving car. Turn the left blinker light on and off, four to six times. If the slower car doesn’t notice your signal, quickly turn your headlights on and off.
4. PULL OVER FOR PROBLEM
If you notice another motorist’s car having problems (trunk slightly open or a loose part), indicate trouble using this signal: point in the direction of the problem, then indicate “Thumbs Down.”
5. LIGHT PROBLEM (CHECK YOUR LIGHTS)
Notice a motorist with a burnt out headlight or a blinker inadvertently left on? To signal a motorist to “Check Your Lights,” open and close your hand, touching the thumb and fingertips together.
6. NEED ASSISTANCE/TIME OUT SIGN
If you’re in trouble and need help, the best way to indicate your emergency is to make the “Need Assistance” signal. Make a “T” sign by crossing one hand above the other. Obviously not while driving when at least one hand should remain on the wheel.
7. I UNDERSTAND (THANK YOU, I UNDERSTAND)
To thank another motorist or acknowledge another motorist’s troubleshooting, use the “I Understand Signal.” The popular “Thumbs Up” or “OK” gesture should suffice (blowing kisses is optional).