Proper use of signals for backing, stopping, and turning allows other drivers to anticipate your movements, which is why failing to signal is a form of reckless driving under Virginia law. You can be ticketed for this offense even if your actions don't result in an accident.
Failing to Give Proper Signals as a Form of Reckless Driving
Section 46.2-860 of the Virginia code reads, "A person shall be guilty of reckless driving who fails to give adequate and timely signals of intention to turn, partly turn, slow down, or stop, as required by Article 6 (§ 46.2-848 et seq.) of this chapter."
Section 46.2-848 is the portion of the code that says you must signal whenever you intend to back, stop, or turn. It reads, "Every driver who intends to back, stop, turn, or partly turn from a direct line shall first see that such movement can be made safely and, whenever the operation of any other vehicle may be affected by such movement, shall give the signals required in this article, plainly visible to the driver of such other vehicle, of his intention to make such movement."
Penalties for Reckless Driving
Reckless driving is normally considered a Class 1 misdemeanor, which makes it a much more serious offense than a traffic ticket for an infraction such as speeding. You'll face hefty fines, the possibility of jail time, and the stigma of a criminal record if you're charged under § 46.2-860.
If you're picked up for driving without a valid license due to a past suspension or revocation and your failure to signal causes a fatal accident, you'll be charged with a Class 6 felony. Felony reckless driving results in a jail term of a minimum one year and a maximum of five years.
Charles V. Hardenbergh Can Help
Virginia attorney Charles V. Hardenbergh is committed to helping drivers build an aggressive defense using every avenue possible to reduce or drop a reckless driving charge. Call today to schedule a free initial consultation.