The answer is yes, if a turn signal was legally required.

Under Illinois law, you must use your turn signal whenever you make a turn, change lanes, encroach onto the other side of the road or leave the roadway.  Failure to do so can give an officer a valid basis to pull you over.

Questions may arise, however, as to whether your driving fell into one of the above categories.   For example, did you actually change from one lane to another? You are not required to signal movement within a single lane, and a roadway with more than one lane requires that the lanes be marked. Moreover, a lane must be used for driving.

For example, in People v. Jackson, the defendant drove his car to park along an adjacent curb without using his turn signal.  There were no markings on the roadway designating lanes or along the curb designating parking spaces.  The court held that because the road was unmarked, it did not have two lanes. No markings depicted an area used exclusively for parking.  Further, the word “lane” implied that an area of the roadway is used for driving and/or traveling, not parking. Moving within one’s lane to park next to a curb is not one of the situations mentioned in the turn signal statute.  (See 625 ILCS 5/11-804.) Therefore, the officer lacked probable cause to stop defendant on that basis.  As a result, defendant’s conviction resulting from the stop was reversed.

If you have questions about this or another related Illinois criminal or traffic matter, please contact Matt Keenan at 847-568-0160 or email

(Besides Skokie, Matt Keenan also serves the communities of Arlington Heights, Chicago, Deerfield, Des Plaines, Evanston, Glenview, Morton Grove, Mount Prospect, Niles, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Rolling Meadows, Wilmette and Winnetka.)


About mdkeenan

A criminal and school law attorney with over 17 years of experience, I have successfully represented clients all over the Chicago area. My practice includes DUI, felony, criminal, misdemeanor, homicide, internet crime, retail theft, traffic offenses, cyberstalking, drug crimes, weapons violations, domestic battery and juvenile crime. I also represent families involving school cases. My clients come from all over the Chicago area including Skokie, Wilmette, Niles, Northbrook, Glenview, Evanston, Winnetka, Highland park, Northfield, Park Ridge, Des Plaines and Mount Prospect. I am a member of the ACLU and the Illinois State Bar Association. I serve as a volunteer for First Defense Legal Aid. Se habla espanol.
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