How to Make Hand Signals for Driving

Unless you’re a centenarian, a driving test instructor, or both (highly unlikely), you might not remember or know how hand driving signals work. Here’s a refresher.

driving signals

We recently noted an increase in web searches for “hand driving-signals.” Hmmm. At first we wondered if this was in reference to the kind of hand signals you might make when someone cuts you off in traffic, but with a little digging we realized that people are actually curious about good, old-fashioned hand signals for driving.

Though they may seem antiquated and unnecessary, knowing the proper hand driving-signals can be a lifesaver if your turn signals or brake lights fail. But unless you’re a centenarian, a driving test instructor, or both (highly unlikely), you might not remember how hand driving-signals work. So what better time for a refresher?

Here’s everything you need to know about hand driving-signals:

Right turn hand signal

To signal your intention to turn right, rest your left elbow on the windowsill and raise your forearm up so it forms a 90-degree angle with your arm. Keep your left hand open.

Left turn hand signal

To make a left-turn hand signal, act as if you’re physically blocking someone with your arm. Just stick your left arm straight out with your hand extended past the side mirror.

Stop or slow down hand signal

To let other drivers know that you plan to stop or slow down, stick your left arm out the window, pointing down, with your palm facing the vehicles behind you.

Although seldom used anymore, these driving signals are standard across the U.S. and also used by an ever-increasing number of cyclists. Plus, you could also be tested on them during the written driving test (in which case, we’re happy to help you boost your score).


3 Responses to “How to Make Hand Signals for Driving”

  1. Avatar for Anne Le Tran
    Eli Josephs
    June 15, 2014 #

    The picture for stop is WRONG. It should be at a 90 degree angle and pointing down. How did the writer mess up a basic article like the 3 basic turn signals.

    • Avatar for Anne Le Tran
      patricia francoeur
      May 21, 2016 #

      Omg, my daughter failed her road test before the car ever started to roll. Now I know why. She simply studied the pictures.!!! I am going to report the problem with a phone call. While I am at it I will request a refund for the cost of the second. Test. Thank you for sharing.

  2. A very valuable article. It may be used very seldom these days, but we know these hand signals will be of great help, maybe in the future. Maybe we're not using those but if we see someone using that, at least we know have an idea and we can relate to it, for safety, right? Thanks for sharing!

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