Why we need to Indicate…

Most of us know Indicator switches to be small levers usually found on the side of your steering wheel column. They switch on those small lights at the front, sides and back of the car. Using the Indicator is something that so many car drivers take for granted but they are very important especially when it comes to driving safely.

A history of automobile lighting: 

The very early vehicles were known to use actual fueled lamps- this was in the times before electrical lighting. Although useful it could cause a number of different hazards- burning fuel often caused accidents within the car. Although not the most efficient way to signal, Carbide lamps were used on the famous Ford Model T car. Oil lamps were used for the tail lights at the time. Luckily a few years later all-electrical lighting was introduced onto the car’s production line. But by 1908 most vehicles were fitted with headlights. Tail lamps and brake lights were introduced by 1915. Electrical dipped headlights were around a few years later by 1919.

Modern indicator lights are ‘self-cancelling’ (The switch off once you have turned the car- made possible by clever devices that detect this fitted in the car). These were first invented in 1940 and made life a little easier for drivers when making those turns or lane changes. The technology behind the indicator lights have not been around for long, in fact it was only in 1993 that the first Light Emitting Diode (More commonly known as LED) were used in indicator and headlight lamps. These are what we see on modern cars being driven on the roads today.

Where on the car can one find the Indicator lights?

You will know the ‘Indicator’ lights as they will nearly always be amber in colour. They are located next to the hazard warning lights and headlights. They are on both the right and the left sides of the car’s bumper. All cars are required to have indicator lights on the front, back and on the front car doors. You will find six indicators in total, this is so that as many road users will be able to spot the signals as possible.

Why do we need indicators on cars? 

It’s all very well knowing where you are going but what about everyone else? It is important for other drivers and road users to know what your intentions are. You will need to signal to this is to oncoming traffic as well as those that are driving behind you too. Others will be able to also drive carefully based on your safe use of the indicator lights. This includes using them in good time giving other road users enough time to react to your intended move.


You will be taught how to use your indicators properly as part of your driving lessons with us. Part of your training will include checking the mirrors for hazards, making sure your way is clear. This is where the signalling comes in, your Want Driving Lessons Instructor will let you know at what point you will need to indicate, you will then make your move safely- whether it is a turn into a side road from a main road, or indicating to turn from a roundabout. You also need to indicate when doing those manouveres, (Reverse parallel parking, and three point turns in the road).

More in depth information on how to use your indicators will be given to you as you learn to drive with Want Driving Lessons 

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