As we are in the midst of another scorching and wet summer here in Florida, it is important to review some safety issues while driving through the rain. One discussion that always seems to take place relates to those drivers who activate their hazard lights while it is raining. Florida Statute 316.2397(7)(a) tells us that flashing lights are prohibited on vehicles except when they are indicating a right or left turn, to change lanes, or to indicate that the vehicle is lawfully stopped or disabled upon the highway. Therefore, it is illegal to drive with your hazards on during the rain.
Many drivers in Florida will inevitably continue to adhere to this practice even though it is dangerous and misleading to other drivers. It is assumed that some people put on their hazards to try to make other drivers aware of their vehicle when it is sometimes hard to see in rain, smoke, or fog; however, hazard lights actually reduce visibility and make you more vulnerable to being involved in accident. Cars and trucks behind someone using their hazard lights cannot identify when the motorist using their hazards is tapping the brakes or using a turn signal. Other drivers may also think that the vehicle using its hazards is stopped or stalled out. Additionally, emergency responders and road rangers are on the look-out for flashing hazards so they know if someone needs assistance. Putting on your hazards during the rain can waste the time and attention of government response teams when they could be helping someone else. Not only is it illegal, but it is also a dangerous practice to use your hazard lights when your vehicle is in motion- whether it raining, hazy, smoky, foggy, or clear. When conditions dictate, always drive more slowly and cautiously and give yourself plenty of space behind other vehicles so you have more time to react to sudden changes in traffic. At Robert Sparks Attorneys we hope everyone has a safe summer traveling the roads of Florida.