Some driving schools in Norway are deciding not to give lessons in certain Tesla vehicles. The move away from using Teslas is happening over the company’s decision to drop turn signal stalks in favour of touch buttons on the steering wheel.
Tesla first introduced touch buttons for turn signals with the launch of the Model S and Model X refresh in 2021. Deleting the turn signal stalks caused a lot of discussion among fans and automotive enthusiasts, with some saying it was a smart move and other saying it was potentially dangerous due to the muscle memory of using turn signal stalks, and that they are difficult to use when the steering wheel is not in the centered position.
Despite the criticism and concerns, Tesla has stuck with the design, launching the upgraded Model 3 last year also without turn signal stalks, and more recently with the Cybertruck. With the impending launch of the Model Y refresh, it is expected Tesla will again follow suit, eliminating turn signal stalks from their entire lineup of vehicles.
That decision has led to some driving schools in Norway, where Tesla is the best selling car, to no longer use Teslas without turn signal stalks. According to a report from Motor, the reason is that it is difficult to find the turn signals and activate them when driving through a roundabout, something that is commonly feature on Norwegian roads.
“I tested the Model 3, and noticed that I lost both focus and direction in roundabouts. It is not directly life-threatening, but you run the risk of both driving on curbs and other cars if there are two lanes,” says Hansen Øyen from the Harstad Traffic School.
If you don’t use your turn signal in those situations, you will fail your driving test. It can also obviously be dangerous for the driver and those around them, but it can also lead to a ticket.
“It is just as crucial to flash out of a roundabout on a driving test, as when driving in traffic. Not being able to give signs, in order to contribute to being able to interact with other road users for safe driving for everyone, is not satisfactory. It can be a basis for dangerous traffic situations, and can be fined as a violation of the traffic rules,” said Lars-Inge Haslie of the Norwegian Public Roads Administration.
Haslie is skeptical that it is something that can’t be overcome, and will be looking into it further and hopefully be getting behind the wheel of a stalkless Model 3 soon to test it out himself.
However, when Øyen posed the question on a forum with over 3,000 other driving school instructors in Norway, there was agreement that the design made it extremely difficult, especially for a new driver, to use their turn signals in a roundabout.