Muscat: A significant percentage of drivers on Oman's roads do not use indicators either to signal while turning, changing lanes, joining a highway or entering or leaving a roundabout, and this is not a good sign, say experts.
"While failure to signal may seem like a minor matter, improper turning and lane changing cause a lot of crashes and near misses," points out Bernadette Bhacker-Millard, a lawyer and co-founder of Sustainability, the first non-profit road safety organisation in Oman.
She reminds that the purpose of the indicator is to tell other road users what you intend to do.
"Road users cannot know your intentions unless you tell them by giving early and adequate signals. Depending on your speed, you should indicate at least 25 metres before making a turn. It's also important to remember that giving a signal does not mean that other road users must give way to you or that you can automatically change direction without taking care and giving way.
"Many other drivers indicate so briefly that blink and you miss it, or change direction before indicating, or indicate left instead of right and vice versa, or leave the indicator blinking long after the manoeuvre," the long time road safety advocate says.
Many drivers in Oman admit that either they are too lazy or don't have the time to use the indicator.
"Failure to indicate is a deliberate act designed to catch other road users unawares and force them to brake or take evasive action. This reckless driving behaviour can be a form of passive-aggression or thrill-seeking. In some countries, insurance companies can deny the claims of drivers who contributed to a crash by failing to indicate or take away their no-claims bonus effectively raising premiums by as much as 25 per cent," says Bernadette.
Underlining that even a relatively minor collision arising from tail-gating or failing to indicate can be sufficient to seriously injure a child who is not secured in a recommended child safety seat.
Bernadette says, "Subject to the speed they are travelling at, at the moment of impact, the driver and front seat passenger, if belted, will be held in place and cushioned by the front airbags. In contrast, an unsecured child is likely to be thrown against the hard interior of the car, ejected through the door onto the road outside or crushed by the forward movement of an adult holding them, causing death or serious injury."
Careless inconsiderate driving costs lives. Too often the lives of those we love best.