General Question

SABOTEUR's avatar

When is it appropriate to use hazard lights (flashers)?

Asked by SABOTEUR (12431points) February 18th, 2010

I thinks it’s imperative that drivers signal their intent (sudden stops, changing lanes, etc.) to other drivers; I’m fanatical about using turn signals whenever I change direction of my car.

I’m not certain though when it’s appropriate to use hazard lights. I’ve developed a habit of using flashers whenever I see unsafe conditions on the road ahead (people in the street, illegal u-turn attempts, unexpectedly stopped vehicles, ice, etc.), however I notice this often has the opposite effect of prompting drivers behind me to attempt accelerating around me toward whatever unsafe condition is ahead.

Should I stop this practice?

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11 Answers

mzehnich's avatar

Yes, you probably should stop as using them while driving usually means “something is wrong with my car and I’m probably going slower than normal, go around me if possible”. On some highways it is law to use your hazards if you have to go a certain speed under the current limit (on the NYS Thruway it’s law to use them if you can only go 45 mph I believe).

Another use of course is when you are pulled off to the side of the road in an awkward spot to let people know you’re there and you’re pulled over.

TheJoker's avatar

As far as I’m aware there are only 2 appropriate times to use them. If you’re experiencing a mechanical fault thats causing you to break-down, & when pulling up behind a tailback of traffic on a motorway.

SABOTEUR's avatar

Thanks @mzehnich, @TheJoker. I’ll cease and desist.

theichibun's avatar

Yeah, you should stop. Use the breaks for those things. Tapping will have the effect that you want.

But you should also use them at any time when you think people might have a hard time seeing you. Hard rain for example.

SABOTEUR's avatar

I will stop.

Cruiser's avatar

When you are in the back seat going at it….I call it mood lighting!

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

Instead of using hazards to signal unsafe road conditions (etc.) to other drivers, I usually just flash my headlights twice. Or to alert cars behind you, a double tap on the brakes as @theichibun suggested should work out nicely. Just make sure to check for tailgaters.

These should have a better effect than using your hazards.

john65pennington's avatar

One really good example to use hazard lights is on the interstate, when there is a traffic hazard in front of you or when the rain or snow is falling really hard and blocking your vision. flashing your hazard lights is a warning to the motorists behind you that there is danger ahead. i see this more and more on the interstate and this is a very good idea.

thriftymaid's avatar

In an emergency. You get a ticket in my area for using them for anything else.

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