Is It Ever Legal In Maine To Turn Without Using A Signal Light?
When it comes to driving vehicles in the State of Maine, there are certain rules that pretty much everyone knows. The kind of rules that even kids who have never taken drivers' education classes know. You always stop at red lights, you stop for people in crosswalks, and you use your signal light when making a turn.
Sadly, some people are not all that great at using their signal lights. We've all seen it! You are following behind a vehicle on a road with a fairly high speed limit (45 MPH) and, all of a sudden, the vehicle in front of you starts to slow down. And, just about the time you angrily start to say "what are you doing?!", they make a turn into a parking lot of onto a side road.
Clearly, making a turn like that without using a signal light is illegal, right? As your vehicle was traveling on the same road as the other vehicle, of course it would be illegal.
However, I recently heard a caller to a radio show make a comment about how it was completely legal to turn without using a signal light if there was no one else around. Could that be true?
Not that I really have a need to make a turn without using a signal light, but I was curious, so I did some digging. After a quick search, I found the verbiage of the law that pertains to using signal lights.
Apparently, the answer to the question is a little more complex than you would think.
According to the Maine Legislature website, drivers in Maine need to use their signal light at least 100 feet before making a lane change or turning if making that move will affect other vehicles or people.
Specifically, it says:
An operator may not turn a vehicle without giving an appropriate signal if other traffic may be affected by that movement.
So, maybe you don't have to signal if no one else is around. However, why take that chance? There could be someone nearby that you did not notice and, by not using your signal light, you put them at risk. So, our suggestion would be to just use your signal light. It only takes a second to flip that lever, after all.
*NOTE - Please always use caution and follow the rules of the road when driving in Maine