I have been quietly conducting a driving study. A study to find how often a simple Iowa, and national, driving law is broken.

My study was not even remotely scientific. It simply involves me counting something while driving. I was safe about it. Jotted each day's totals down in my iPhone's note app. So what was I counting?

car signal switch
We all have this in our vehicle -- photo credit: smodj
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I was counting the number of times folks turned (or changed lanes) without the use of a turn signal. Oh, I am the same dude that suggested we raise the speed limit on I-380 about a year ago, by the way.

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Now, before we fire up the engine and get rolling, here's a bit about my daily drive. I drive about two hours each day. I live in the Cedar Valley and drive to Cedar Rapids each morning. Then, back home in the early evening. So, I see a lotta driving as I do a lot.

Blinkers, turn signals... call 'em what you well, no one seems to use them

Before we get to my findings, only one state, Washington, actually had the issue of turn signal usage go all the way to its Supreme Court. They ruled you have to use 'em. Iowa has not taken such drastic steps. Buuut, the Iowa DOT does have strong language and guidance with regards to signaling:

Turn signals give other drivers time to react to your moves. You should use your turn signals before you change lanes, turn right or left, merge into traffic, or park.

They go on to mention signaling for lane changes, turns, slowing down etc. in far more (kinda boring) detail. But is it required by law? Well, yeah. Otherwise, I wouldn't have gone through the difficulty of doing my silly study. What the fine and/or fee is for not using is a grey area, but it is required under Iowa law.

Forget speed cameras, Iowa would make major moolah off ticketing non-blinker users

The results of my little study found a lot of violators. Folks that would switch lanes on I-380 without signaling, turn without using the blinker, and even drivers who'd use no signal when sitting in a turn lane. Now, I am far from likely to always use my blinker. I think this morning alone I switched lanes 2-3 times without using a blinker.

My research found in roughly one week (I monitored for 7 days, but only on weekdays as I don't make the drive on weekends) 156 different times a driver did not signal. A handful of these offenders failed to use a blinker more than once.

Here are my notes from the past week, including how many times I saw turning/lane changes with no blinker.

JM/TSM
JM/TSM
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So if law enforcement ever did decide to start a crackdown, or install blinker cams, a lotta Iowa drivers would be getting tickets in the mail. GASP!

Still, oftentimes no signal is better than the guy who turns on his blinker and then leaves it on for miles and miles... my favorite is when that driver eventually turns the other direction.

Hilarious Iowa DOT Signs

Anyone else share a sense of humor with a state's Department of Transportation? Just me? Well, every Monday the Iowa Department of Transportation puts up a sometimes hilarious, sometimes straightforward message on their road signs across the state. This is called "message Monday" and Iowa DOT tries to entertain and educate drivers through these signs. Here are just a few of our favorites.

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