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Can I be arrested for reckless driving if I fail to use my turn signal?

Using your turn signals is more than just a good way to be courteous to other drivers. Turn signals are legally required as a key component of safe driving behavior. If you fail to signal a turn, a Virginia law enforcement officer can decide to arrest you for reckless driving.

Failing to Use Your Turn Signal Can Have Big Consequences

Virginia law requires you to provide "adequate and timely signals of intention to turn, partly turn, slow down, or stop." This is so your intended path is clearly communicated to others on the road.

According to the Virginia Driver's Manual, this means you should signal at least 100 feet ahead of the turn. This is roughly three to four seconds before you turn. If there is a stop sign or traffic light at the intersection, you're also required to come to a complete stop before turning.

If you forget to use your turn signal because you're distracted, inattentive, or in a hurry to get to your destination, you can be charged with reckless driving. It does not matter if you've broken no other traffic laws and no one is hurt because of your actions. 

More Than Just a Traffic Ticket

Many drivers with an otherwise spotless record are surprised to learn that reckless driving is a criminal charge and not a simple traffic violation. This means that a conviction carries hefty fines as well as the possibility of jail time. You'll also be left with the stigma of a criminal record that can affect future employment opportunities, your ability to maintain an active security clearance, and more.

To protect your rights, it's best to hire an experienced attorney who can help you develop the strongest possible defense. Some of the options available to you might include attending a driver improvement clinic or completing community service hours in exchange for having the charge reduced to a traffic violation such as improper driving. Call today to schedule a free, no-obligation initial case review with Virginia reckless driving attorney T. Kevin Wilson.


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