The Proper Use of Hazard Lights
Almost every day, you witness people using their hazards in order to do something illegal. Students use them when waiting outside A.M. Barbe to avoid parking whilst waiting to pick someone up. People who believe they’re entitled, use them to avoid having to park in a faraway spot—instead, they park right outside the doors and switch their hazards on. Finally, the most irritating of hazard light abuses is when people try to avoid traffic on Highway 10 by using hazard lights and riding in the emergency lanes.
How is this not frowned upon? Since when can you simply use your hazard lights as a way to break the law? Aren’t there certain rules and laws about when and where you can use your hazard lights?
The answer is yes!
The Proper Time to Use Your Hazard Lights
The National Highway Code states that flashing warning lights "may only be used when your vehicle is stationary, to warn that it is temporarily obstructing traffic." They must not be used, "as an excuse for dangerous or illegal driving or parking." Some states will allow you to use your hazard lights while driving to warn of dangerous situations or when poor driving conditions cause you to drive slower than normal. However, Louisiana prohibits the use of hazard lights while your vehicle is in motion.
Therefore, unless you’re experiencing one of the following situations, you should never use your hazard lights as a way to preemptively warn others of your reckless driving. Although warnings are useful, simply not driving carelessly is a safer and wiser course of action.
Appropriate times to use your hazards include:
- When you’re parked in a loading or unloading zone.
- When you’re experiencing vehicle problems in which you can’t safely move.
- Emergency situations that prevent you from safely exiting traffic (chest pains, dizziness, heart attack, labor, etc.).
- During a funeral procession (even for states like Louisiana when mobile hazards are otherwise prohibited).
Do you know someone who is having a rough time distinguishing when and where to use their hazard lights? Please, feel free to share this page with him via email, Facebook, or Twitter, or recommend it to your friends on Google Plus to help avoid hazard light confusion.
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