It’s rainy, do you drive with your hazard lights on?
A little over a year ago, a big topic of discussion going around on social media was the use of hazard lights while driving in the rain. Florida Highway Patrol clarified that driving with your hazard lights on in the rain is unsafe, but why do so many people do it?
Many people just associate the use of these flashing “warning lights” (which have “hazard” in the name), with “hazardous conditions” or low visibility. They feel unsafe, so they want to turn their “hazards” on. Why does the FHP advise against it?
Why is it unsafe to drive with your hazard lights on in the rain?
According to the FHP, it is illegal to drive with your hazards on in the rain because of the following reasons:
- The law states the lights should be used only when a vehicle is stopped
- Authorities look for flashing hazard lights when they receive a call about a highway emergency, when everyone is driving with hazards on, it makes it a bit difficult to determine which vehicle is in an emergency situation, especially in conditions with low visibility
So what should you do to stay safe while driving in the rain?
Check your tires regularly
The first thing is to check your tires. Bald tires can cause you to hydroplane in wet conditions. Hydroplaning is when a layer of water gets in between your tire and the road, creating a condition where you are actually sliding on water. The tread on your tires flushes water out of the way, at higher speeds the possibility of hydroplaning becomes greater, always check your tires and tire pressure before long trips on a highway, and especially when you are taking a trip in rainy conditions.
Keep a safe distance from other vehicles
You may have checked your tires before a trip, but what about the person behind you? If they can’t stop in time in wet conditions you may be hit from behind. Check your rear-view mirrors and keep a safe distance from vehicles following too close to you, and don’t follow too close to the vehicle in front of you.
Pull over to the side of the road if visibility is too poor
If you simply cannot see because it is raining so hard, pull over to a high parking lot and wait until visibility improves. This may not always be an option, but it is sometimes safer than driving in poor visibility conditions. Always find a high spot, a high parking lot where you notice water is flowing out instead of in, and under your vehicle. There are many low lying areas in Tampa and you can easily get caught in a puddle that will damage and stall your car. You don’t want to get stuck in a flooded road.
Don’t drive in the rain with in Florida with your hazard lights on, drive with your headlights on.
It may be against the law to drive with your hazard lights on, but it is also against the law to drive with your headlights off in the rain. So the rule is, headlights on, hazards off.
What to do if you are in an accident in rainy conditions?
As with any auto accident in the Tampa bay area, in case of an injury or emergency, call 911. Take photos with your smart phone or keep a small camera locked in your glove box. Most people have smart phones with cameras, take photos of the tires of the car that hit your car, take photos of the damage. Send those photos to firstname.lastname@example.org and give us a call at 813 229-3232.