On a rainy Tampa Bay day, you might notice interstate message boards that read “lights on, hazards off.”
It’s a mandate many drivers ignore, insisting that the hazard lights make themselves more visible to other motorists, and therefore safer. The opposite is true, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
The FHP explains, turn signals and hazard signals are considered communication devices. Hazard lights alert troopers and other motorists that there’s a crash or broken-down car ahead. When drivers are simply communicating “it’s rainy” it sends the wrong message to other motorists, as well as law enforcement officers.
Moreover, because hazard lights override your vehicle’s turn signals, you’re potentially putting yourself and others in danger. That’s why the use of hazard lights at any time while driving is against the law.
“If you’re going to be signaling ‘I’m going to turn left or right at this intersection,’ or ‘I’m going to change lanes,’ you’re not able to communicate effectively to other drivers. And, if there’s a crash, you can he held responsible for it,” says FHP Sergeant Steve Gaskins.
The only time hazard lights should be used is when your car is stopped or disabled on the side of the road, or if you’re part of a funeral procession.
Many states also ban the use of hazard lights while driving, but not all. If you’re not in Florida, find out if your state allows it at this link.
You can read the Florida Statute about hazard lights at this link.
Contact Meredyth Censullo with your Road Rants or traffic questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook at WFLAMeredyth.