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Auto Accidents and Georgia O.C.G.A. § 40-6-123

When does Georgia law require you to signal when making a turn or changing lanes? Simple question, no simple answer. O.C.G.A. § 40-6-123 provides as follows:

(a) No person shall turn a vehicle at an intersection unless the vehicle is in proper position upon the roadway as required in Georgia Code Section 40-6-120 or turn a vehicle to enter a private road or driveway or otherwise turn a vehicle from a direct course or change lanes or move right or left upon a roadway unless and until such movement can be made with reasonable safety. No person shall so turn any vehicle without giving an appropriate and timely signal in the manner provided in this Code section.

(b) A signal of intention to turn right or left or change lanes when required shall be given continuously for a time sufficient to alert the driver of a vehicle proceeding from the rear in the same direction or a driver of a vehicle approaching from the opposite direction.

(c) No person shall stop or suddenly decrease the speed of a vehicle without first giving an appropriate signal in the manner provided in this Code section to the driver of any vehicle immediately to the rear when there is an opportunity to give such signal.

(d) The signals provided for in subsection (b) of Code Section 40-6-124 shall be used to indicate an intention to turn, change lanes, or start from a parked position and shall not be flashed on one side only on a parked or disabled vehicle or flashed as a courtesy or “do pass” signal to operators of other vehicles approaching from the rear.

So, the question becomes, does every driver always have to use a turn signal in Georgia. The answer is a resounding, “No.” As O.C.G.A. § 40-6-123(b) makes clear, a “signal of intention to turn right or left or change lanes when required shall be given continuously for a time sufficient to alert the driver of a vehicle proceeding from the rear in the same direction or a driver of a vehicle approaching from the opposite direction.” The inference is that, although it is probably the safest practice to always use turn signals whenever you turn your vehicle in any direction, it is not always required by the law.

One situation which would seem to not require a signal is if a driver was driving on a rural road with no other traffic present and changes lanes. If no other vehicles are on the road, not signal would be required under a strict construction of this rule of the road in Georgia. However, as we have indicated above, the safest and best practice is to always signal and not have to rely on a strict interpretation of the law in court, should you fail to signal and find yourself in a situation in which you are being cited by the police for failure to signal on the roadways.

As an aside, most people don’t realize this, but you are required to signal in Georgia before pulling out onto the roadway from a parking spot of private driveway. Once again, the best practice is to always signal.

For almost 25 years, Attorney Robert J. Fleming has been handling wrongful death cases, automobile accident cases, personal injury cases, dental malpractice and medical malpractice lawsuits for individuals and families who have been injured or died as a result of the negligence of others in and around the Atlanta, Georgia area, including Alpharetta, Austell, Brookhaven, Chamblee, College Park, Duluth, Decatur, Doraville, Hapeville, Johns Creek, Jonesboro, Lawrenceville, Norcross, Peachtree City, Riverdale, Roswell, Sandy Springs, Stone Mountain, and Smyrna. If you have been seriously injured and would like quality legal representation or if you would just like to consult about your potential case, contact Robert J. Fleming directly on (404) 525-5150 or contact us online.