Turn Signals When Reversing Your Vehicle
Are drivers supposed to signal when backing up? If so, which way? Even as we use turn signals while driving forward, we tend to confuse each other. This is clearly evident if you’ve ever driven anywhere.
Question: When Backing Up, Which Signal Should I Use?
When you back up, simply use the same kind of signals that you would if you were driving forward.
In other words:
- Backing straight? Don’t signal
- Backing to the right? Signal right
- Backing to the left? Signal left
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. Technically speaking, drivers are legally required to use turn signals whenever there are other road users 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.
- Sharing the road with other road users (Ontario.ca)
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
When Backing To The Right, Signal Right
Backing To The Left, Signal Left
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
- 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 at the back of every car automatically when it’s put into reverse gear. 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 can be helpful when you don’t have another human who 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 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 as well as all drivers. Indeed, we are legally supposed to signal to other road users, including when we are backing up.
If you’re having trouble remembering which way to signal, just signal whichever way you’re going to be steering; just like when driving forward. If you have never driven forward before, well that’s okay, just read this article for brand-new drivers or check out my YouTube channel.