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Automatic indicators will help make roads safer

close up shot of silver BMW headlight

Vehicles today come fitted with all sorts of technology to make drivers’ lives easier and keep everyone safe.

Whether you choose a family saloon, sports car or SUV, they come with everything from rain-sensitive wipers to lane assistance and automatic braking – which all help make life on the road more enjoyable for taxi drivers and everyone else who drives for a living.

One of the major causes of collisions is drivers carrying out manoeuvres unexpectedly and not giving other motorists a chance to avoid a bump. So, manufacturers have decided to take this out of the hands of the motorist with the creation of automatic indicators.


Most side mirrors alert drivers to the presence of vehicles in the lanes next to them. This is particularly important at high speeds on motorways and dual carriageways where collisions are much more serious.

In situations such as this, the car’s safety and navigation systems will detect that it is approaching a vehicle in front and will automatically begin indicating a planned lane change. This gives other drivers plenty of notice so the manoeuvre can be completed safely.

The same technology will be used in towns and cities as drivers approach junctions, giving other motorists plenty of warning that they are about to change lanes or make a turn.

Manufacturers see automatic indicators working in conjunction with other in-car safety systems, such as collision warning and automatic braking. Modern cars can already detect when a driver is distracted and not paying attention to the road ahead and there are various warnings and alerts to remind them to pay attention.

As well as preventing a driver from carelessly veering into other lanes, the technology being developed will be able to detect when a driver checks their side mirror and the automatic indicators will be ready to activate.


Because it is expected to be a key safety feature, drivers won’t be able to switch off automatic indicators and it is hoped that all the extra indicating will make our roads safer. This means that cars will indicate ahead of every turn and every manoeuvre, making sure that other motorists will be left in no doubt about a driver’s intentions.

However, this comes as bad news to drivers of certain vehicles who are either unaware that they are fitted with indicators, or don’t see the point in using them.

Fortunately, they will be able to carry on as normal if they have the indicator package removed at the time of purchasing the car. But anyone who buys a vehicle with automatic indicators already installed will have to put up with the irritating clicking sound and annoying flashing they make every time they are activated.

Manufacturers are aware that this could put some drivers off buying their cars in future.

A spokesman for BMW said: “Although not everyone believes it, all our cars come with indicators fitted as standard. However, as they are hardly ever used, we can see no need to invest in this technology, especially as it could go against the wishes of many of our customers.

“Each BMW is a precision machine which is designed with performance, comfort and aesthetics in mind. When you look at a BMW, you see sleek lines and dazzling style. The distinct headlights mean you can tell it’s a BMW from a mile away, so why spoil it with flashing orange lights?”

Audi, Jaguar Land Rover and Mercedes-Benz have all been approached for comment.

All information is correct at time of publication. Information provided within this article may have changed over time. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by John Patons Insurance Services or any of its employees.