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You’ll find many lights on a car,  some that you should regularly use while others should only be used when absolutely necessary. Your hazard lights, also known as emergency lights, fall into the second category as sparingly used car lights. In fact, you could go the entire time owning a vehicle and never use these car lights at all. Let’s look at the times when you need your hazards and times when you don’t.

What happens when you put on your hazard lights?

Button for the hazard lights in a car
Hazard Light Button | Shutterstock

These lights on a car signify an emergency situation. If you have them on while driving, other motorists can become confused about your intentions. Having these lights on means you can’t use your turn signals the way you normally would.

When should I avoid using my hazard lights?

Firestone Complete Auto Care offers us some advice regarding the use of these lights on a car. You should not use your hazards regularly, but you might see some people using them improperly. Four times you should not use these car lights are:

Should I turn on my hazard lights in heavy rain?

Traffic in Heavy Rain
Traffic in Heavy Rain | Shutterstock

You might see other vehicles doing this, but you should not turn on your hazards during heavy rain. The lights on a car that should be on are your headlights, which also turn on your taillights. Don’t turn on your high beams; this can cause reflected lights creating glare in your field of vision. High beams can also blind other drivers; the heavy rain is enough of a challenge without you adding to the problems on the road.

Why shouldn’t I use these car lights when parking illegally?

Fire Lane Sign
Fire Lane Sign | Shutterstock

Some people think that parking illegally becomes legal by using their hazard lights; this is false. You can argue with a police officer all you want, but you’ll get a ticket for parking in a loading zone, fire lane, or handicapped area, even if you turn on these car lights. In fact, when parking this way, your hazards draw attention to your vehicle.

When should I use my hazard lights?

If you can’t use these lights on a car during the situations mentioned above, when can you use them? These car lights serve as a warning to others to help avoid your vehicle or to signal communication. Here are four times when it’s ok to use them:

  • When getting pulled over
  • While changing a tire on the side of the road
  • When your car has broken down
  • Driving in a funeral procession

Why should I use my hazards when being pulled over?

Once a police officer signals to you with their lights that you’re being pulled over, it’s your job to find the right place that’s safe for both parties. Signaling with your hazard lights allows the officer to know you understand that you’re being pulled over and will do so at a safe location.

The real purpose of these warning lights

Car Broken Down on the Side of a Road with man looking under the hood
Car Broken Down on the Side of a Road | Shutterstock

The hazard car lights indicate a problem with your vehicle while it’s stopped. This means you should have them on once you’ve pulled to the side of the road to change a tire or if your car is broken down and impeding traffic.

Understanding when you should use hazard lights and when you shouldn’t can help you become a better driver and communicate your intentions more clearly to other drivers on the road. Now you know more about these lights; be safe out there and use these car lights properly.

Next, learn more about car fads that people shouldn’t have paid for, or leanrn more about how to prpoperly use your hazard lights in this video below:


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