How To Use Hand Signals For Driving

There are certain rules to be followed when you are driving on the road. To ensure road safety, you have to alert other drivers before taking every action. Of course, cars have turn signals and brake lights, but there are hand signals for driving because not all drivers can utilize them. Plus, these indicator lights could be broken and useless. In that case, hands are the only medium to communicate with others to avoid accidents.

What Are The Hand Signals For Driving?

Maintaining communication with other drivers is necessary when you are changing your trajectory, moving to another lane, or adjusting the speed. Signaling makes other people on the street aware of your intentions.

The Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) proposes the official language of hand signals for driving that all drivers must know for safety purposes. These are the basics of hand signals:

1. Hand Signal For Left Turn

what are the hand signals for driving
Left turn signal.

What is the arm signal for a left turn? When you are making a left turn or moving to the left lane from the right side, the steps you need to follow are:

  • Extending the left arm sideways out of the driver’s window. Keep the arm straight at a 180-degree angle and the fingers stretched.
  • Make sure that the driver behind you can clearly see the position of your arm.

2. Taking A Right Turn

driving arm signal
Signal for turning right.

The driving arm signal for turning right or moving to the right lane from the left side involves a couple of steps:

  • Extending the left arm out of the driver’s window.
  • The elbow will be at a 90-degree angle with the fingers pointing upward and the palm facing forward.


3. Stop Hand Signals

You need to press the brake when you want to stop or slow down on the road.

stop hand signals
Signal for stopping or slowing down.

At the same time, you have to make these hand signals so that others understand what you are going to do:

  • Extend the left arm out of the driver’s window.
  • Bend the elbow downward at a 90-degree angle. The fingers will be stretched, and the palm faces backward to the drivers behind you.

4. Signal To Pass

When you want the vehicles behind you to move forward, show these hand signals:

hand signals for driving
Signal to overtake.
  • Extend the left arm out of the driver’s window.
  • Keep the elbow bent at a 120-degree angle with the palm facing forward.
  • Then, move the hand in a circular clockwise motion.

You should show the hand signals for driving a while before making the turn or changing the lane. Maintain them until completing the move. The safest way is to give the signals at least a 100-foot before taking the turn. It will give other motorists adequate time to realize your intention.

When To Use Hand Signals For Driving?

You don’t need to use these signals other than some specific occasions. The state traffic laws require you to do that when:

  • The brake or tail light does not work.
  • You are riding a bicycle or a vehicle without turn signals.

You are driving early in the morning or evening, because the light at these times makes it difficult to spot the light signals from other vehicles, sign signal will come in handy.