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 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 these work. So what better time for a refresher?

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

hand signalshand signals

Right turn 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 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 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 hand signals for driving 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).

Also! Make sure you have reliable car insurance from Esurance

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Safe and smart | Car safety


about Anne

If variety is the spice of a copywriter’s life, then Anne’s career at Esurance was akin to sassafras. From 2010 to 2014, she added a touch of zest to topics ranging from cleaning with baking soda to becoming a first-time homeowner.