I have been quietly conducting a driving study. A study to find how often a simple Iowa, and national, driving law is broken. My study was not even remotely scientific. It simply involves me counting something while driving. I was safe about it. Jotted each day's totals down in my iPhone's note app. So what was I counting? The number of times folks turned (or change lanes) without the use of a turn signal. Oh, I am the same dude that suggested we raise the speed limit on I-380, by the way.

Now, before we get rolling (pun intended), I drive about two hours each day. I live in the Cedar Valley and drive to Cedar Rapids. Then, back home. So, I see a lotta driving as I do a lot.

Blinkers, turn signals... call 'em what you well, no one seems to use them

Before we get to my findings, only one state, Washington, actually had the issue of turn signal usage go all the way to its Supreme Court. They ruled you have to use 'em. Iowa has not taken such drastic steps. Buuut, the Iowa DOT does have strong language and guidance with regards to signaling:

Turn signals give other drivers time to react to your moves. You should use your turn signals before you change lanes, turn right or left, merge into traffic, or park.

They go on to mention signaling for lane changes, turns, slowing down etc. in far more (kinda boring) detail. But is it required by law? Well, yeah. Otherwise, I wouldn't have gone through the difficulty of doing my silly study. What the fine and/or fee is for not using is a grey area, but it is required under Iowa law.

Forget speed cameras, Iowa would make bookoo bucks off ticketing non-blinker users

The results of my little study found a lot of violators. Folks that would switch lanes on I-380 without signaling, turn without using the blinker, and even drivers who'd use no signal when sitting in a turn lane. Now, I am far from likely to always use my blinker. I think this morning alone I switched lanes 2-3 times without using a blinker.

My research found in one week, I spotted 180 times a driver did not signal. Many of these offenders failed to use a blinker more than once. Here are my notes from the past week, including how many times I saw turning/lane changes with no blinker.

My end of the day tally for the week. (Johnny Marks/TSM)
My end-of-the-day tally for the week. (Johnny Marks/TSM)

So if law enforcement ever did decide to start a crackdown, or install blinker cams, a lotta Iowa drivers would be getting tickets in the mail. GASP!

Still, oftentimes no signal is better than the guy who turns on his blinker and then leaves it on for miles and miles... my favorite is when that driver eventually turns the other direction.

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