hazard lights

What are Hazard Lights and When Should You Use Them?

by Zutobi · Updated Nov 15, 2021

Emergency lights for vehicles, often known as hazard lights, are a must-have on Australia’s busy highways and roads, but there are wrong and right situations in which you can use hazard lights. This article will go over everything you need to know.

What are Hazard Lights?

Hazard warning lights are a driver-controlled system that causes all turn signal lamps to flash at the same time. Its purpose is to alert oncoming cars to the presence of an emergency, thus the name. They generally flash repeatedly to better draw other drivers’ and passengers’ attention.

When Should You Use Hazard Lights?

In general, you should only activate your flashers when your car has become a potential hazard. Below are several driving situations for all Australian states when you should use your emergency flashers.

1 – If your vehicle is stationary and obstructing traffic

If your vehicle has become a temporary threat and you are waiting for help, use your flashers to alert other drivers of your presence. This is especially important when your vehicle has broken down in traffic.

However, do not use hazard lights as an excuse for dangerous or illegal parking. It’s illegal to use them for parking, even temporarily. Hazard lights won’t prevent you from getting a fine if you park illegally.

2 – If you need to warn drivers of a hazard or obstruction

Whenever you are driving and you need to warn drivers behind you of a hazard or obstruction, use hazard lights. Use them for long enough for your warning to be observed.

3 – If your vehicle has become a hazard to other drivers

This includes a number of situations, such as when you are in the emergency lane, in case of adverse weather with severely reduced visibility, when driving dangerously slow, in case of an abrupt breakdown, when changing tyres, and so on.

When Should You NOT Use Hazard Warning Lights?

1 – When Trying to Park

You should not turn on your hazard lights if you are parking illegally or looking for a parking spot. Do not switch on your hazard lights to go shopping quickly.

2 – While in Heavy Traffic

While your emergency lights can increase your visibility, they can also make it harder for other drivers to predict where you’re going. It’s illegal to use hazard lights when driving normally in heavy traffic.

3 – When driving normally or being towed

Do not use your hazard lights when driving normally or being towed, except if you need to warn another driver of a hazard.

Prepare in Advance so You Don’t Have to Use Your Flashers

Making sure you’re prepared is your best bet for not having to use hazard lights.

For example, before you begin driving, make sure you inspect your vehicle. You don’t have to do this every time, but making it a habit can save you a lot of trouble in the long run. In addition, inspect your tyres and look under the hood of your car every couple of weeks. Check fluids and engine oil level. As you become more acquainted with your vehicle, you will begin to notice when things are out of place then take the necessary steps.

Aside from getting into the practice of maintaining your car regularly, prepare for bad weather and poor road conditions. Consider changing your travel arrangements if the weather forecast is not favourable or if there will be heavy traffic on your way to your destination.

By doing these preventive measures, you won’t be put in a situation where your car breaks down and you have to use your emergency flashers, which is best for everyone.

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