Knowledge exam

Are you required to use indicators in this situation?

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Even if you change the lateral position of your vehicle when reversing, you are not required to use direction indicators. The reverse light alerts other road-users to the fact that you are reversing.

It is also the case that, when reversing, you must allow all other traffic to pass. If you see another vehicle approaching, you must stop and allow the vehicle to pass. Because you are always required to stop, there is seldom any reason for you to signal the direction in which you intend to travel. After all, you are not permitted to continue reversing until the road behind you is completely free.

Hazard lights are not to be used in this situation: “Direction indicators that are specially designed as a warning measure (hazard lights) may be used when, due to accident, engine failure or similar reasons, a vehicle has become stationary at such a place or in such a manner that it may represent an obstacle or a hazard for other traffic”. (Swedish Transport Agency’s regulations for traffic signals)

Is it illegal to use indicators when reversing?
– No. But driving schools teach pupils that they should not indicate, and the Swedish Transport Agency states in a written response that indicators do not need to be used when reversing. Your use of indicators when reversing could be illegal if it confuses other road-users.

How could other road-users be confused by the use of indicators when reversing?
– Imagine that you have stopped at the side of the road and intend to reverse over a four-way junction. You turn on your left indicators. This signal normally means that you intend to pull away from the side of the road and will continue driving forwards, which is a completely different manoeuvre than reversing over the junction. This could result in confusion and a hazardous situation.

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