Turn Signals For Driving Backwards
Wondering about turn signals when backing up? You’re not the only one. A lot of people wonder if you’re supposed to signal when you’re backing, out of a parking stall for example.
Technically, you are supposed to signal (forward or backward) if there is someone to signal to.
This article will get into the nitty gritty: Turning signals for backing to the right and left, which way to turn the wheel, plus more details. And if you’re new to reversing a car in general, check out my detailed guide on how to reverse a car properly and Right-of-Way in the Parking Lot.
Table of Contents
We’ve got a question from a reader about signals when backing up. Even when we use signals when we drive in a forward fashion, we tend to confuse each other, and this is evident if you’ve ever driven anywhere.
You can read more about that in my article: Who is at fault if a car signals but doesn’t turn? When you back up, simply use the same kind of signals that you would if you were driving forwards.
In other words, for going straight, don’t signal; for backing to the right, signal right, and for backing to the left, signal left.
Question: When Backing Up, Which Signal Should I Use?
The answer to this very perplexing question about signals when backing up is this: It’s the same as when you are going forward.
- In other words, if you are going straight, don’t signal
- If you’re backing to the right, signal right
- If backing to the left, signal left
That way, the other road users around you may better understand where you plan to go.
Signals When Backing Up – Going Straight? Don’t Signal
If you’re backing in a straight line, don’t signal. Same as if you are driving forwards and going straight or not turning.
If you signal when backing in a straight line, you will only confuse people.
Do You Have To Use Your Blinker When Backing Out?
Do you need to signal when pulling out of a parking space?
You should use your turn signal before reversing out of a parking spot unless you 100% know for certain that there are no other road users anywhere.
Legally, we must signal if there is someone to signal to.
It’s a good habit to just do it, in case there are road users that you can’t see, but who may be able to see you.
BC Motor Vehicle Act
169 A person must not move a vehicle that is stopped, standing or parked unless the movement can be made with reasonable safety and he or she first gives the appropriate signal under section 171 or 172.British Columbia Motor Vehicle Act
Signals When Backing Up – When Backing To The Right, Signal Right
Signals When Backing Up – Backing To The Left, Signal Left
Signals When Backing Up – Not Sure Which Way To Signal?
If you aren’t sure which way to signal when about to reverse, just ask yourself one question:
“Which way am I about to turn my steering wheel?”
The answer is your answer.
If you don’t know which way to turn your steering wheel for backing up, check out: Reversing a Car – The Ultimate Guide + 11 Tips to Stop Confusion. And if you have difficulty with the actual job of steering, check out my article Steering Techniques for Safe Driving & Car Control.
Make Sure Your Reversing Lights Are In Good Working Order
This Is Your Other Reversing Signal
Reversing lights are white lights that are supposed to illuminate the back of every car.
But they use light bulbs, which can sometimes burn out. Make sure to regularly check and make sure these are working.
One of the easiest ways to check them is by reversing up to a window or mirror where you can see your car’s reflection.
That’s helpful when you don’t have another human that can check your reversing lights for you.
Additional Backing & Parking Resources
If you need to learn more about driving backward and parking, refer to the Parking and Reversing category section on this site.
- Reversing a Car – the Ultimate Guide.
- Parallel Parking
- Reverse Stall Parking
- How to Park Your Car on a Hill Safely
In addition, it’s good to also Park Your Car in the Right Gear so that it doesn’t roll away down a hill without you.
These articles and many others – such as this rather epic collection of Road Test Tips – can also be helpful if you’re trying to teach someone how to drive.
The whole backing/parking thing can be very confusing for new drivers. It’s true that we are legally supposed to signal to other road users, including when we are backing up.
If you’re having trouble remembering, just signal whichever way you’re going to be steering; just like when driving forward. If you have never driven forwards before, well that’s okay, just read this article for brand new drivers or check out my YouTube channel.
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