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New Oklahoma City Blinker Ordinance in Effect

09-Oct-2015

If you passed your driving test, you know that you are supposed to signal before turning changing lanes. Until recepntly, that is all the guidance drivers in Oklahoma City had regarding the appropriate use of a blinker when passing or changing lanes. If you have ever watched someone turn on their blinker halfway through the turn, then it should not surprise you at all that existing law did not specify when the signal should be activated.

A new Oklahoma City municipal ordinance changes that.  

Effective last Friday, Oklahoma City law requires not only that you signal before changing lanes or turning, but that you turn on your blinker at least 100 feet before the turn or lane change. Failure to do so is punishable by a $172 fine.

If you have ever waited for a car to pass, only to have the non-signalling car to turn, and thought to yourself (or shouted angrily), "I could have gone! Use your blinker!" then this ordinance is good news for you.

But if you are used to signalling a short time before turning, you may need to adjust your driving behaviors to avoid a costly ticket.

The new law requires a signal at least 100 feet before the turn or lane change, but just how far ahead is 100 feet? It may be farther than you realize.

  • The distance between bases on a baseball diamond is 90 feet--so it is a little longer than that.
  • One hundred feet is equivalent to about 33.33 yards--or one third of a football field.
  • An NBA basketball court is 94 feet long. 

If sports visualizations aren't helping you, try these visual descriptions:

  • A school bus is about 35-40 feet long, so 100 feet is roughly the length of 2.5 school buses.
  • The length of an average mid-sized sedan is about 13 feet, so 100 feet is roughly 7 car lengths.   

For most people, the new 100-foot signalling requirement will mean nothing more than a traffic ticket if they fail to turn on their blinker far enough in advance. However, the new law could have another effect for some drivers. 

In order for law enforcement to make a proper, legal traffic stop, they must have probable cause to do so. Probable cause is typically a traffic violation, and police are not legally able to "cherry pick" or pull over cars at random hoping for an arrest. 

For example, it would not be lawful for a police officer to park his or her patrol vehicle a block away from a bar and pull over the vehicles that leave the bar on suspicion of DUI. After all, the vehicle could be driven by an employee getting off work or a designated driver. However, if the police officer sees a driver commit a traffic violation, he or she can pull the car over for the traffic violation, no matter how minor. 

Failure to signal at least 100 feet in advance of your turn or lane change could lead to a traffic stop that escalates to a DUI stop which may include field sobriety testing or even an arrest for DUI or DWI.

Want to avoid a traffic stop in OKC? Use your blinker--and use it well in advance of your turn. 



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