DMV Written Driving Theory Test
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Hand Signals for Driving Test in Oregon

Driving Test Oregon
Driving Test Oregon

The Oregon Driver Manual is clear in pointing out that it is a must to always signal before turning, moving to the left or right, changing lanes, pulling away from a curb, slowing down or stopping. Failure to signal properly and at the right time in Oregon are stipulated in ORS 811.390 – ORS811.405.

Signaling properly and at the right time alerts other motorists and pedestrians of what you intend to do for safety on the road and to help prevent accidents. Proper signaling involves the use of electronic turn lights and in certain situations, arm and hand signals.

Modern motor vehicles are equipped with electronic light signals making hand and arm signals almost unnecessary or even rarely used. Many driving instructors however include arm and hand signals as part of their training process because you will never know when they will come in handy.

The Oregon DMV practice test include hand signals because it is important that drivers know about these things. It is also important that drivers know when to and not to use arm and hand signals.

When to Use Arm and Hand Signals

Reliable and modern technology make sure that the wiring or electronics that control the electronic light signals of your vehicle will not fail. But then again, if can happen.  You, the driver will often not know that your electronic light signals have failed unless a fellow motorist calls your attention.

It has happened numerously that a vehicle stopped without its brake lights functioning.  The driver only knew of it when a concerned motorist informed him that he had no brake lights. This can be extremely dangerous.

When in this situation and you cannot leave your car, you need to make a hand signal to inform other motorists that you are stopping or slowing down, making a turn or changing lanes.

Here are other circumstances when you need to use arm and hand signals to abide with traffic laws in the state of Oregon:

  • When sunlight makes it impossible to clearly see the signal lights
  • When brake or tail light is not functioning.
  • When rear indicator light is not functioning
  • When driving motorcycles who have brake or tail lights but may not be easily visible to other motorists
  • When vehicle does not have turn signals
  • So other motorist can see pedestrians especially when you are in a Zebra crossing.

For these reasons, it is not enough to solely rely on your vehicle’s electronic light signals for signaling.

Arm and Hand Signals

The Oregon DMV driver manual states arm and hand signals as follows:

  • Hand signal when turning left

A left-hand turn signal is needed when changing lanes from the right to the left or when making a left—hand turn.

To make a left-hand turn signal, extend your left arm to the side from your window (driver’s window). Keep your arm straight. Your fingers should be extended, too. Make your arm as visible as you can to the other motorist.

  • Hand signal when turning right

A right-hand turn signal is needed when changing lanes from the left to the right or when you need to turn right.

Too make a right-hand turn signal, extend your left arm from your window (drive’s window). Bend your elbow and bring it at a 900 angle so your arm is facing upward. Make your palm face forward (toward the motorists in-front of you) and your fingers extended. Make sure your arm is as visible as possible to everyone around you.

  • Hand signal when you need to slow down or stop

When you need to slow down or go on a full stop, make a hand signal while pressing on your brakes.

To make a hand signal for slowing down or stopping, extend your arm out of the driver’s window. Bend you elbow at a 900 angle so your arm is pointing downward toward the road. Make your palm face the motorists behind you. Your fingers should be extended, too.

The Proper Way to Use Hand and Arm Signals

While hand and arm signals are not often used, you should be ready for any eventuality when you need to use them. The Oregon written driver’s test may have questions about hand signals. The examiner of your skills driving test may or may not ask you to demonstrate these signals.

The state of Oregon has a tricky law about signals. You should know the right time and place when to use them.

Here are a few simple tips you may want to bear in mind when making hand and arm signals:

  • Signal first before braking.
  • Signal when turning even if there are no other vehicles in sight.
  • Signal when pulling away or pulling to a curb.
  • Keep on signaling until your lane change or turn is complete.

ORS 811.395 stipulates that you need to use the proper signals when turning, stopping, suddenly decelerating or changing lanes. This section authorizes using hand and arm signals as an alternative to using signal lights as stipulated in ORS 811.405.

The proper vehicle electronic lights standards for turn lights are stipulated under ORS 816.120 and brake lights under ORS 816.100.

When a driver fails to use the proper signals when turning (either hand signals or electronic light signals), stopping, suddenly decelerating or changing lanes he is slapped with a Class B traffic violation.

To avoid getting a turn signal ticket, you must always signal when you turn, stop, slow down or change lanes. Signal often and early. Signal before you make a turn, brake or change lanes. In short, signal before making any move.

Oregon laws on signaling does not state that you need to separately signal for every lane change. It simply states that you need to signal 100 feet before turning left or right, changing lane, slowing down or stopping.

Whether using your vehicle’s electronic light signals or hand and arm signals, signal even if at first you want to turn and then suddenly change your mind. You will not be flagged down for signaling and then changing your mind and not turning.

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