Invisible, inaudible turn indicators

In today’s “Car Talk” newspaper column, there was a letter from someone whose father fails to turn off his turn signals after turning because he’s getting a little older and can no longer hear the clicking. The guy wanted to know if there was some way of making it louder to compensate for his dad’s age-related hearing loss. Tom and Ray implied that if the guy couldn’t see the indicators on the dash and couldn’t hear the clicking, maybe he’s too old to keep driving because he also couldn’t see what was happening around him and couldn’t hear things like sirens or horns.

I’ve got some real issues with that response. First, the first part of your hearing to go is the high frequencies, which is just about all there is to a clicking sound. (I understand there’s a ringtone out there than nobody over 25 years old can hear; teenagers use it to keep teachers from knowing they’re making phone calls in class.) This high-end hearing loss isn’t going to have a noticeable effect on your ability to hear emergency vehicles which are deliberately designed to put out sound in the broadest possible range of frequencies.

As for not being able to see the flashing lights on the instrument panel, blame Detroit (or Tokyo, or Seoul, or wherever) for putting them where the top limb of the steering wheel blocks the driver’s view. I haven’t had a car in thirty years that I could see those little blinking arrows without ducking my head down (in one car I had to unbuckle the seat belt to lower my head enough).

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Clearly you’ve been buying the wrong cars for thirty years.

If where the turn signal indicators are the main reason you bought or didn’t buy an auto, making cars popular would be pretty simple. I for one feel it’s a legitimate complaint and feel if manufacturers can find a way to accommodate other functions, they can with this.


Yes, I’ve been making foolish buying decisions. I’ve been buying cars designed for dwarves.

Unfortunately that’s all anybody sells.

Can’t say I disagree too much. Really, I mean, look at how almost every vehicle is set up. The blinkers are on the very top of the instrument panel, where they’re pretty much out of the way. I guess they’re considered unimportant, in the grand scheme of things. You MUST be able to see that CEL or airbag indicator.

If you change lanes, well, you should be able to remember for at least two minutes you turned your blinkers on…but hey, at least I used them, right?

If you make a turn, they auto-magically turn themselves off…most of the time.

European cars tend to have louder “clicks” for the blinkers. Don’t believe me…try it yourself. Visit any Mercedes or BMW dealer, and just turn on a blinker. The click is very audible.

I’ve found that if I relocate the blinker itself to a space actually in contact with the interior trim, it resonates more, making it possible to hear. but should I have to do that? The mechanical noise is already there. Why not use it?


simply hold the turn signal until it blinks, do not lock it, this works well, plus it does not wear out the mechanism.

there is no reason to lock the lever to signal, if you get tired of holding the lever, signal less or inter mittently , this works, you have nothing to lose by trying it ,

Pretty rude comments and no answer. I have the same problem due to ringing in my ears. I am not elderly but had my eardrums damaged during a recent war. (my bad) My signal lights are not bright or large and sit lower so I don’t notice them. I have not been able to find a loud 3 prong flasher unit. I worry that I may have someone see my signal and think that I am actually turning and pull out in front of me. I would like to wire in a 12 volt buzzer so I can hear the blinkers or find a loud three prong flasher unit. For those of you that are going to leave a rude comment, don’t bother with a reply. I would appreciate it anyone can tell me how to wire in a buzzer to the flasher unit, I would appreciate that.

Very old post - 7 years.
All the posters except one are long gone

I don’t think the answers are rude at all but there is no answer because there is no answer to this issue.

Buy the right car so you can see the turn signals, simple. Don’t complain that the car you bought is not designed exactly for you. Find the one that fits, buy that one.

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This is an open forum so replies can’t be ordered to suit.

Rude reply to follow: You revived a 7 year old thread to slam people who have not been here for years.

I wrote the answer at the level of the one that inquired.

Apparently I hit the mark!


Sincere thanks for your service.

Better than jury-rigging a buzzer in, search out under handicapped accessories a loud signal flasher. There are special ones made for hearing-disabled drivers. I’ve added a link that should help.{D5ED7BD7-E5D3-49AA-B1F5-01C628255663}&action=homepage_search&k=amplified+automotive+signal+flashers+for+drivers+with+hearing+damage&parent_action=&noredirect=1

Not trying to be rude or snarky, but if you find yourself driving down the road with the turn signal on there’s something wrong with your car or the way you’re using your turn signal.

After you make your right or left turn–whether from one street to another or in/out of a driveway, the turn signals should automatically cancel as the steering wheel returns to center. If you’re simply changing lanes the turn signal is never fully on, it’s not pushed all the way to where it stays on. The lever is pushed just enough to blink while you’re holding it as you’re changing lanes to advise other drivers and returns to the off position as soon as your finger lets off.

Around where I live there are many turns that aren’t sharp enough to trigger the directional signal to automatically trip off. The OP’s area may have many too. We shouldn’t judge the OP, only take him/her at his/her word and try to offer a solution to his/her problem.

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As long as this post was revived…
One year Cadillac had a system that increased the volume of the indicator if not canceled by the driver.
RE: Visual indicators-on my car they can not be seen during daytime, sun is just too bright.
For asemaster-often when leaving a limited access highway the ramp is very gentle curve, will not cancel turn signals.

One option: move to Florida-choices here: Do not use signals or use your
4 way flashers.

That holds true in my area, also, and that is probably why I frequently see people signaling what I refer to as “an eventual left turn”. What else could you call it when their directional signal is blinking for… many, many miles on an interstate highway? :wink:

Nobody is perfect, of course, so one of the many reasons why I glance at my instrument panel every few minutes is to verify that the turn indicator isn’t blinking. Even if you have reasonably normal hearing, if the audio system is turned-up to a fairly loud setting, it is pretty easy to not hear the flasher clicking.

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Many of the newer cars that I have experienced lately, the “Clicking” of the blinker is a computer noise- no longer an actual flasher. Now I do not know if this is a standard across the industry, but if it is, then buying a louder 3 prog flasher will do you no good.

Perhaps it would be easier to wire in an extra light and sit it on top of the dash? Like a little red one the alarms use?

if you come in here on a tear like that, you have to expect responses similar to yours.

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Point taken about the sweeping turns.

While I have no solution, I do have the problem. Mine is the same general frequency as road noise at 60-70 mph, so I have found it on after switching lanes on the freeway. My other cars have had a very different noise, wasn’t a problem. And I understand how one might miss testing this out before purchase.

Go back and click on the link I gave to the OP. It should get you to websites of providers of flashers designed for hearing impaired, and that may help you.

Thanks, if it comes to that, I’m just being more careful. But wish I didn’t have to be…