If you drive a vehicle in New Jersey, it’s crucial to be aware of the rules that dictate how you should use signals before making any turns or stops. This includes even the seemingly simple action of signaling your intention to move your vehicle in a specific direction. New Jersey law is quite precise about this, and failure to comply could land you in legal hot water. One of the key New Jersey laws that addresses this issue is statute 39:4-126. This statute outlines the requirements for signaling before starting, turning, or stopping your vehicle.
The Importance Of Proper Positioning
Before making a turn at an intersection, the law insists that your vehicle must be in the proper position on the roadway under Section 39:4-123. Whether you’re turning into a private road, driveway, or deviating from a direct course, you must ensure that you can complete the movement safely.
Mandatory Signaling And Its Duration
When you decide to turn, the law mandates that you must provide an appropriate signal. Importantly, this signal must be active continuously for at least the last 100 feet traveled by the vehicle before making the turn. This regulation aims to give sufficient warning to other drivers who may be affected by your movement.
Requirements For Stopping Or Slowing Down
Not only do you need to signal before making a turn, but you must also signal before stopping or suddenly decreasing your speed. This is crucial for alerting the driver immediately behind you, allowing them to react appropriately and avoid a potential collision.
Mechanical And Hand Signals
The law accommodates both arm and hand signals, as well as approved mechanical or electrical signaling devices. If your vehicle’s construction or load prevents your arm and hand signals from being visible from both front and rear, then you must use an approved mechanical or electrical device to signal your intentions.
Understanding Arm and Hand Signals
In cases where arm and hand signals are used, they must be executed in a specific manner:
Your arm and hand should be extended horizontally to indicate a left turn.
To signal a right turn, your arm and hand should be extended or placed upward.
Decrease Speed Or Stop
If you intend to slow down or stop, position your arm and hand downward.
Possible Consequences Of Violation
Failing to signal before stopping, turning, or starting could result in an $86 fine and two points on your driver’s license. The severity of the fine depends on whether you violated the law in a safe corridor, 65 MPH area, or construction zone.
Defenses To 39:4-126 Violations
No Other Traffic Affected By The Movement
The statute stipulates that a signal is required “in the event any other traffic may be affected by such movement.” This implies that if your action of turning or stopping did not have the potential to affect any other vehicles on the road, you might argue that signaling was not legally required.
The Vehicle Was In Proper Position
One of the key requirements before making a turn is that the vehicle must be in the correct position on the roadway as mandated by Section 39:4-123.” If you can demonstrate that your vehicle was correctly positioned according to this referenced Section, then you may have a valid defense against the charge of failing to signal before turning.
Signal Was Given Continuously For The Last 100 Feet
The law requires the signal to be given continuously for “not less than the last 100 feet traveled by the vehicle before turning.” If you can prove that you adhered to this requirement, it could serve as a defense against a charge of failing to signal adequately.
Electrical or Mechanical Signal Device Used When Necessary
The statute allows for signals to be given either through arm and hand signals or an approved mechanical or electrical device. If your vehicle’s construction or loading prevented arm and hand signals from being visible, the law requires you to use a mechanical or electrical device. Providing evidence that such a device was used and approved by the division could constitute a defense.
Arm and Hand Signal Visibility
If you chose to use arm and hand signals and are accused of not making them visible, you can defend yourself by demonstrating that your arm and hand signals were indeed visible from both the front and the rear of your vehicle.
Proper Use Of Arm And Hand Signals
The statute outlines very specific methods for using arm and hand signals. If you can prove that you executed these signals correctly — for a left turn, right turn, or to stop or decrease speed — you may be able to argue against a violation charge.
Frequently Asked Questions About 39:4-126
What Does 39:4-126 Require For Signaling Before Making A Turn?
The New Jersey statute 39:4-126 mandates that before making a turn, you must give an appropriate signal continuously for at least the last 100 feet traveled by your vehicle. This is essential to alert other drivers that may be affected by your movement.
Is Signaling Required If No Other Cars Are Around?
The law specifies that a signal is necessary “in the event any other traffic may be affected by such movement.” So, technically, if no other vehicles could be impacted by your actions, signaling might not be legally required.
Can I Use Hand Signals Instead Of My Car’s Signal Lights?
Yes, you can use either arm and hand signals or an approved mechanical or electrical signal device. However, if your vehicle’s design or load obstructs the visibility of your hand signals, you must use an approved device.
What Are The Approved Arm and Hand Signals According To 39:4-126?
For a left turn, horizontally extend your hand and arm. For a right turn, extend them upward. To indicate that you’re stopping or decreasing speed, extend your arm and hand downward.
How Can I Defend Myself If Charged Under 39:4-126?
Several defenses are based on the statute’s language. These can include proving your vehicle was in the proper position, the absence of other affected traffic, or that you did use a signal appropriately according to the law’s requirements. Consulting an attorney focused in New Jersey traffic laws can be beneficial.
Traffic Ticket Lawyer For Failing To Signal Offense
If you’ve been charged with a violation of 39:4-126, it’s crucial to consult with an experienced traffic ticket attorney to navigate the complexities of this New Jersey law. For professional representation, you can contact The Law Offices of Jonathan F. Marshall at (855) 933-3761 or get in touch online. Don’t take chances when it comes to your driving record; let our experienced team help you today.
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