Reviewing Tennessee's hand signal laws

As a motorcyclist in Shelby, you know full well just how difficult it can be to share the road with other vehicles. Like many of those that we here at The Gold Law Firm have assisted in the past, your difficulties may not be due to your own driving tendencies, but rather those of other motorists. Drivers sometimes tend to overlook motorcyclists and not respect their place on the road. When accidents involving such drivers do happen, they often tend to deflect the blame on to the motorcyclists, claiming that they were recklessly weaving in and out of traffic without warning. You should be prepared to counter such a claim. 

How can you do this? By giving a clear indication of your intentions whenever you are traveling on your bike. A good way to do this is to use hand signals. While your motorcycle may be equipped with blinkers, using hand signals to indicate a lane change or turn removes any doubt as to what you are intending to do. Section 55-8-143 of the Tennessee Code outlines the proper use of hand signals on the road. They should be given 50 feet prior to your making a turn or lane change, as well as when you are entering the flow of traffic from a curb or the side of the road. 

The proper hand signals to give are as follows: 

  • Extending the left arm downward to indicate slowing or a need to stop
  • Extending the left arm upward to indicate a right turn
  • Extending the left arm horizontally to indicate a left turn

Even after having given a hand signal, you should wait to ensure that it is acknowledged by other drivers before proceeding. More information on fulfilling your on-road responsibilities as a motorcyclist can be found here on our site. 

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