Your emergency lights can quickly and effectively warn other drivers of potential hazards or emergency situations. However, different states have laws regulating when you should and shouldn’t use your hazard lights.
Don’t Use Your Hazard Lights If. . .
You Are Driving In Bad Weather
When driving in bad weather, using your hazard lights may contribute to poor road visibility, and may cause other drivers to misinterpret your driving maneuvers. Furthermore, activating your hazard lights will disable your turn signals increasing the likelihood of an auto accident.
You Are Driving in Heavy Traffic
While using your hazard lights can make you more visible to other drivers on the roadway, it can also make you unpredictable; as turn signals may be disabled when hazard lights are activated. When you become unpredictable to other drivers, you become a liability on the roadway.
You Can’t Find a Place to Park
Illegal parking will not be excused even if you have your hazards light on, unless an emergency exists. Instead, you should find a legal place to park, so as not to illegally obstruct traffic.
Your Turn Signals Will Communicate More Effectively
If you are in a situation where your turn signals would be better suited to communicate to other drivers, do not turn on your hazard lights. For example, if your car malfunctions on the freeway, and you plan on exiting the roadway, you should signal your exit using your turn signals rather than turning on your hazard lights.
Your Car Cannot Drive the Speed Limit
Although large tractor trucks are generally allowed to use their emergency lights to indicate they must drive well below the speed limit, the same does not apply to smaller passenger vehicles. If your vehicle cannot go the designated speed limit, you should find an alternate route, utilizing backroads with posted speed limits closer to the ability of your car.
Use Your Hazard Lights When. . .
You Are Getting Pulled Over by a Police Officer
If a police officer attempts to pull you over, turning on your hazard lights will indicate your recognition of the traffic stop.
Your Car Breaks Down or Requires Roadside Assistance
If your car has broken down and you are waiting for roadside assistance, or you are attempting vehicle maintenance yourself; i.e. changing a tire, you should use your hazard lights.
You Are Driving in a Funeral Procession
In most states, driving in a funeral procession is an exception to hazard light laws. Meaning, if driving with your hazards on is normally illegal, your state may provide an exception for a funeral procession.
An Unexpected Emergency Arises
Finally, if you are experiencing an unexpected emergency, you should use your hazard lights. This will quickly and effectively warn other drivers present on the roadways of the potential danger. However, in these situations you will also want to decide whether or not your turn signals will be more effective.
Hazard Light Laws By State
States That Allow Hazard Light Use When Driving:
Alabama, Connecticut, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Vermont.
States That Prohibit the Use of Hazard Lights When Driving:
Alaska, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Wyoming.
States That Only Allow Hazard Light Use in Emergencies:
Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Maine, Maryland, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Were you or someone you know involved in a recent auto accident? Call Auto Accident Care Network now at 801-683-1948 to connect with a live care advocate. Our team at AACN can connect you to trusted attorneys and doctors to schedule a free legal consultation, a free thirty-minute massage, and a no-cost medical exam!