New Tesla models, including the Model S and Model 3, updated their turn signals to be triggered by force touch buttons located on their steering wheels in lieu of a traditional turn signal stalk. The discrepancy between Tesla’s turn signals and other stalk-based cars means that driving instructors no longer think student drivers should learn how to drive in Teslas, as the way they operate isn’t similar enough to other vehicles.
Edmunds news editor Will Kaufman summed up the issue concisely to Forbes.
“This design puts an important function [turn signals] on a moving target, as the wheel moves but a stalk does not,” he said. “Many drivers are already bad at using their turn signals, so this could make the issue worse.”
The stalkless design is particularly problematic in Norway, where drivers must signal that they are exiting a roundabout (aka a traffic circle) by using the turn signal. Hitting the button on the steering wheel is much more difficult while you’re actively turning the wheel within the roundabout.
“I don’t know if banning them is the right move. If a student plans to drive a Model 3, might as well learn to drive with it, but I have to admit that Tesla’s force touch turn signals is worse than a stalk,” Electrek’s Fred Lambert wrote. “It’s the first time I’ve even thought about the new turn signals being used in roundabouts, and I can clearly see how that can be a problem.”
The turn signal controversy is just one of several issues Tesla currently faces. The company also may see its tax credits for U.S. customers decrease, some drivers are questioning the vehicles’ build quality, and some are wondering about the safety of the new Cybertruck in accidents.
Electrek readers sounded off about the development in the comment section.
“The next step is for a country to update their vehicle regulations to simply require a turn signal stalk on all new cars,” one user wrote. “I’m really surprised it isn’t already required somewhere, let alone everywhere.”
“My son just took his driver’s test yesterday,” another user explained. “… One of the things they obviously ask you to operate [is] your turn signals. Basic controls like that being as standard across the board in all cars is ideal.”
“I believe Tesla wanted to streamline production and cut costs by removing the stalks and is just using the excuse of them not being necessary once autonomous driving is realized,” a third user hypothesized.
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