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Hazard lights: are we using them right? - Media

Advice

Hazard lights: are we using them right?

are we using them right?

Hazard lights: are we using them right?

Hazard lights: are we using them right?

You know what it's like: you're driving along behind a taxi when its hazard lights suddenly start blinking. You know something is going to happen but you're not quite sure what – then it does a U-turn and pulls to a sharp stop. Well, we're very quick to shout at taxi drivers for using their hazard lights incorrectly, but the truth is that very few of us use them as they are supposed to be by law!

The National Road Traffic Act states that, "The driver of a motor vehicle fitted with a separate switch to operate all the direction indicators simultaneously, shall put into operation simultaneously all the direction indicators fitted to such vehicle, when the vehicle is—

(i) stationary in a hazardous position; or

(ii) in motion in an emergency situation.

That means that hazard lights, strictly speaking, are not allowed to be used when you're driving in heavy rain or mist as this is not an emergency situation. They also shouldn’t be used to indicate that you're about to stop or pull off the road. You also shouldn't use them to say thanks to the driver you've just overtaken.

No, you should only use hazard lights when your vehicle is stationary in a place where it could be a danger to other road users, to make them aware of your position, or when your car is moving in an emergency situation. The latter might be taken to when you are slowing down on the highway for an accident, or when there is an obstruction in the road. Alternatively, if your car has a flat tyre or a mechanical difficulty and you are forced to drive slowly to reach a place of safety.

For every other reason, using your hazard lights is illegal! The main reason for this is because hazard lights can be confusing. As in the example of the taxi above, other drivers don't know if the taxi is going to turn tight, turn left, do a U-turn or stop completely. If the taxi driver were simply to indicate, other drivers would be aware and the action would be a safer one.

Hazard lights: are we using them right?

You know what it's like: you're driving along behind a taxi when its hazard lights suddenly start blinking. You know something is going to happen but you're not quite sure what – then it does a U-turn and pulls to a sharp stop. Well, we're very quick to shout at taxi drivers for using their hazard lights incorrectly, but the truth is that very few of us use them as they are supposed to be by law!

The National Road Traffic Act states that, "The driver of a motor vehicle fitted with a separate switch to operate all the direction indicators simultaneously, shall put into operation simultaneously all the direction indicators fitted to such vehicle, when the vehicle is—

(i) stationary in a hazardous position; or

(ii) in motion in an emergency situation.

That means that hazard lights, strictly speaking, are not allowed to be used when you're driving in heavy rain or mist as this is not an emergency situation. They also shouldn’t be used to indicate that you're about to stop or pull off the road. You also shouldn't use them to say thanks to the driver you've just overtaken.

No, you should only use hazard lights when your vehicle is stationary in a place where it could be a danger to other road users, to make them aware of your position, or when your car is moving in an emergency situation. The latter might be taken to when you are slowing down on the highway for an accident, or when there is an obstruction in the road. Alternatively, if your car has a flat tyre or a mechanical difficulty and you are forced to drive slowly to reach a place of safety.

For every other reason, using your hazard lights is illegal! The main reason for this is because hazard lights can be confusing. As in the example of the taxi above, other drivers don't know if the taxi is going to turn tight, turn left, do a U-turn or stop completely. If the taxi driver were simply to indicate, other drivers would be aware and the action would be a safer one.