This of course made me more curious as this was a foreign concept to me. So I looked it up. Apparently, one would flip it up or down and it sends a signal telling the car to turn on certain lights. These lights evidently will communicate your intentions to other drivers. This is useful when you want to be in the same lane or you are slowing down to turn.
I guess occasionally I see these lights on other cars, but sometimes this is rare so I thought it was a celebratory thing. I guess not.
Doing a little more research, I decided to look up their history as they must be a new invention.
Interestingly enough, the concept of the turn signal has been around since 1907 when Percy Douglas-Hamilton applied for a Patent. This was approved in 1909. In 1914, a mechanical signaling arm was invented, this would put a sign on the bumper telling the driver's intentions.
In 1920, the first flashing signals were introduced by the Protex Safety Signal Company. In 1925, Edgar A. Walz secured the patent for the first modern turn signal but car companies were not interested and the patent expired.
In 1939, Buick became the first manufacturer to introduce a factory installed turn signal. Slowly, other manufacturers incorporated them and in 1968 they became required by U.S. Federal law. So it turns out they have been around for a while.
Anyways, I hope you appreciated this little history lesson and please use your signals in the future.
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