If you happen to see a vehicle pulled off to the side of the road with its lights flashing, your first thought might be “oh no.” Hazard lights, or hazard warning lights, are when all four of a vehicle’s lights flash simultaneously until turned off. For most people, the sign of the hazard lights means there’s an emergency or a hazard ahead. If a vehicle is stationary on the shoulder with its hazard lights on, most people would interpret that to mean the vehicle has broken down and the owner is awaiting a tow truck. Hazard lights on a vehicle typically cause other drivers to slow down, cautious of what they are approaching. This is why improperly using your hazard lights can be dangerous.
Can I use my hazard lights while driving?
During severe storms, you may encounter drivers who use their hazard lights while on the road. When people do this, they’re under the impression that it increases the visibility of the drivers behind them. However, the use of hazard lights while continuing to drive is unsafe, as other drivers may interpret the lights as a warning that you’ve stopped or stalled. Your hazard lights can also confuse drivers following you in regard to the direction you intend to travel. Since hazard lights often use the same lights as your turning signals, it makes it difficult for other drivers to discern which way you plan on turning.
Can I use my hazard lights when stationary?
Most drivers will use their hazard lights when pulled off to the side of the road, alerting other drivers that there is an issue. Yet, there are drivers who will use their hazard lights while parked temporarily. Doing so can cause more problems than one might expect. If your vehicle is parked in a row and your taillights are obscured by other parked vehicles or objects, passing drivers may think you intend to pull out. This can be a potential hazard, as the driver will slow down and patiently wait for you while blocking traffic. Another issue that is common regarding hazard lights is people will stop in the middle of the road, put on their hazard lights, and wait as their family or friends pile out of the car. Again, this results in blocked traffic and very annoyed drivers.
When is the proper time to use hazards?
Your hazard lights are designed to ensure your safety will on the road and should only be used when there is an unavoidable issue. The proper time to use your hazards include:
- When your vehicle has broken down in an unsafe location that may affect traffic
- When you are experiencing vehicle problems and cannot safely move your vehicle
- When experiencing an emergency situation related to your health
- When warning vehicles behind you of an oncoming obstruction or hazard
Knowing when to use your hazard lights is important to keep all drivers safe on the road. If you’re still unsure of when to use your hazards or have a question regarding your hazard lights, please contact St. Albert Honda. We’ll be happy to help!