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Failing to Give Proper Signals (46.2-860)

You’re driving in traffic and want to quickly change lanes. You don’t need to signal, right? It’s just a quick lane change. What if you’re approaching a fork in the road and you want to keep to the right? It’s not technically a turn, more of a slight right so you don’t need a signal? Wrong! You could be committing a criminal offense. Changing lanes or turning in Virginia without giving adequate and timely signal of your intention to change lanes or turn you could be committing a criminal offense. Virginia requires a turn signal to show your intent to turn or turn slights. Additionally, Virginia requires signals for slowing down or stopping. Failing to Give Proper Signals is a form of Reckless Driving in Virginia. Failing to Give Proper Signals is defined under the Virginia Code as;

A person shall be guilty of reckless driving who fails to give adequate and timely signals of intention to turn, partly turn, slow down, or stop, as required by Article 6 (46.2-848 et seq.) of this chapter.

The article that is referenced in the above statute, Article 6, details the appropriate ways to turn and slow down. Article 6 states;

Every driver who intends to back, stop, turn, or partly turn from a direct line shall first see that such movement can be made safely and, whenever the operation of any other vehicle may be affected by such movement, shall give the signals required in this article, plainly visible to the driver of such other vehicle of his intention to make such movement.

Reckless Driving is a Class 1 Misdemeanor and carries a punishment of up to 12 months in jail and/or a fine not exceeding $2,500.00. Additionally, reckless driving is a six (6) point offense on your driving record. A reckless driving conviction stays on your driving record for 11 years and reckless driving remains on a criminal record for the rest of your life and cannot be expunged.

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