Column by John Brandi

John Brandi

Fact of life: people will piss you off.

Either in class, when they don’t return your e-mails or when they claim ignorance to the simplest of things. So, I’ll let you all in on a little secret that’s been rolling around on my palette lately that is more irritating than my mother/grandmother tag team guilt-trip-a-thon; when people fail to signal on the road.

Oh, I’m sorry, was I supposed to assume that you would cut me off without signaling and then go 14 mph. No problem, go ahead. You’re probably late for an asshole convention anyway.

What’s with the majority of drivers out there forgetting to turn on that flashing light? According to, someone dies in a car crash every 12 minutes, that’s about 123 deaths per day. More specifically, one of the causes New York state police say is poor signaling.

Maybe people don’t realize that signaling is a law, and forgetting to do so would result in what is considered a moving violation. And before you call me a stickler for the rules, I just have to say that I’d rather not go out in a compressed, shattered and possibly flaming automobile strewn somewhere on Interstate 87, charred to a crisp like Uncle Owen and Aunt Beru. (At least one “Star Wars” reference, check.)

Notwithstanding, my Honda Civic, being my first car and putting a hefty sum of money down for it myself, was recently recalled due to a high chance that, if it should roll over, the improperly-installed fuel canister would likely explode. As if it didn’t and I would actually want to live in a world of perpetual familial disappointment for being so careless; good one Japan. What this has to do with signaling well, beats me. I just thought you could use a laugh.

Know something that’s not funny? Law enforcement officials claim that trouble on the road increases by 50 percent once the sun goes down. Leaving me in the dark over whether you’re going to turn into my lane is just stupid, so use caution, be alert and utilize turn signals. Leaving the driver guessing is not a game anyone should play.

A movie quote that’s always stuck with me comes from “Hot Fuzz” where the two main characters come to the scene of a car wreck. They have a dialogue where one asks why we can’t call them “car accidents” anymore, as the other character replies, “Because ‘accident’ implies that it was no one’s fault.”

The New York state Department of Motor Vehicle driver’s manual states that “most traffic crashes occur at intersections when a driver is making a turn.” And hey, I could understand if your turn signals were out due to mechanical failure, but I’m going to include in here a way for you to turn using hand signals, so the only error would be human.

If the driver is making a left, hold arm straight, if the driver is making a right, arm should be facing upward and finally, if the driver is coming to a stop, arm should be extended facing down, say if a person was doing the “robot” dance at a bar or bat mitzvah. Get it? Got it? Good.

Still, the thing is this wouldn’t be an issue sans the fact I’ve seen it happen so many times. I always thought that I was a bad driver, especially after hitting that shrub two-thirds into my three-point turn. Or when I hit that industrial dumpster trying to get out of my driveway – in my defense it was icy. Anyway, remember to turn on your turn signal; it’s important and respectful to those you’re sharing the road with.