Reverse Alarms

Commercial vehicles are a lot larger than regular cars, meaning that many people need to be aware when a large vehicle is manoeuvring. Reverse alarms are an essential component for vehicle safety, highlighting the vehicles presence and actions in order to keep surrounding people safe. The alarms supplied here at UKAP have noise ranges with different levels of decibels (dB), ensuring that our customers have access to the alarms that are most appropriate for their needs.


Thanks to a long history of lobbying led by Brigade Electronics’ founder, the truck reverse sound is now well known on British streets. Why are they so important?

Drivers have to contend with reduced visibility, blind spots, confined space, pedestrians, other manoeuvring vehicles and poor lighting. It’s no surprise that nearly 25% of deaths involving vehicles at work occur while reversing. Reducing this risk is of the utmost importance, particularly as 90% of those accidents occur while the vehicle is off road – i.e. manoeuvring in loading bays and warehouses.

A commonly adopted safety practice is installing reverse sounds to vehicles. When reverse is engaged, the familiar BEEP BEEP alert sounds. Reverse alarms are normally low cost and easy to install, making them a relatively easy safety precaution to take. They can also be used in conjunction with camera systems such as Brigade’s Backeye camera monitor systems for a more comprehensive reversing system.

UK Automotive Products offer kits to suit most vehicles that include high quality harnesses and all extras that you need to fully kit out your vehicle including reverse alarms, camera systems and lights. Our plug and play harness system can be installed in minutes, completely removing the need to hardwire your reverse sounds and other components. Have a look at our harness kit page or contact us for more information.

How do reverse alarms work?

Reverse alarms, or back up alarms, are installed on lorries and other large vehicles. They emit a loud “BEEP BEEP” truck reverse sound when a vehicle is reversing to alert pedestrians and other road users that there is a potential hazard – a large vehicle manoeuvring.

Audible warning systems including reverse alarms are a requirement for compliance with many vehicle safety standards including FORS.

How loud is the reverse sound?

Reverse alarms need to be loud enough to be heard over the ambient noise of UK streets. This can vary quite significantly between the British countryside (rated at about 45dB(A)) and a busy city high street (rated at about 65dB(A)). For comparison, normal conversation is about 60dB. Reverse alarms usually sit between 82 and 107dB.

Naturally some working environments, such as quarries, will have different requirements due to their louder ambient noise.

What is a white sound alarm?

White noise alarms have been developed to combat some of the weaknesses of the traditional tonal alarm. One of the main issues with traditional alarms is that they only emit sound on a single frequency. White noise alarms use broadband sound (sound on multiple frequencies). This makes the “shh shh” noise that they emit directional, non-polluting and easier for people to pay attention to.

Why chose a white sound reverse alarm?

While traditional alarms were a big step forward for reversing safety, the next generation of reverse alarms are designed to correct some of the flaws of the original design.

Many problems are due to the nature of the reverse sound being made. If the vehicle is in an enclosed space, the sound of the beep can bounce off surfaces making it seem more invasive and disorienting. White noise alarms can be heard clearly in the danger zone (close to the vehicle) but the noise dissipates quickly beyond that meaning only the people most impacted will hear it. White noise can even be heard by people wearing ear protection, headphones or for those with hearing difficulties. The source of the sound can be easily located so pedestrians know exactly where the hazard is.

The newest reverse alarms on the market have been developed to combat those concerns.

Traditional Alarm “BEEP BEEP” White Noise Alarm “SHH SHH”

Sound can echo or bounce, making it hard to locate the source

Can be detected instantly by people in the danger zone

Noise does not dissipate quickly

Sound is only heard in the danger zone

Sound is “piercing” and can disrupt pedestrians and wildlife

Smart alarms auto adjust volume to 5-10dB above ambient

Single frequency can’t always be heard

Multiple frequencies can be heard even by people with ear protection or hearing difficulties