After posting a reminder on the Staff Portal for cyclists and pedestrians about wearing reflective jackets and installing bicycle lights during the winter darkness, some employees got in touch with the editors. They noted that we should also be reminding motorists to adjust their speed to the darker conditions.

Unfortunately, not all pedestrians and cyclists have reflective clothing or lights, and many cars do not turn on their rear lights despite visibility being poor.

Don’t forget the rear lights

Previously, Sweden had rules requiring dipped headlights and activated rear lights during daylight hours. However, this changed around ten years ago in connection with new EU rules. These rules entail that the car can have lights at a level between parking lights and dipped headlights and no rear lights during daylight hours with good visibility.

If a motorist has set the lights to automatic, there are light sensors which detect when darkness falls and activate the rear lights. It is far from certain that these sensors will activate the lights in all necessary circumstances, however, and the rear lights may remain off at dawn, dusk or when visibility is obscured, such as during rain or fog.

An investigation conducted in 2021 by the motorists’ organisation M Sverige showed that around 5 percent of cars did not have their rear lights on at dusk or when it was dark.

Depending on the model of the car and the selected light settings, the driver may therefore need to activate the rear lights manually when visibility is poor.

You can read more about how you can manage your car’s light settings in this article on M Sverige’s website (in Swedish).