We’ve all been there! Driving down the road and suddenly the weather changes and you’re forced to drive through a torrential downpour. Usually, it includes a lot of baited breaths and a white-knuckle grip on the steering wheel. Some drivers handle it like a pro, and others immediately reach for the hazard lights.
The drivers who turn on their hazard lights are trying to tell the world that they’re on the road and moving slow. But what they’re doing isn’t right and making the entire situation confusing for others on the road.
Palm Beach Police Remind Drivers about Proper Hazard Light Usage
Palm Beach County is getting walloped by storms this time of year. All Florida drivers handle driving in storms differently. Some immediately turn on their hazard lights as they creep along the streets and highways. But, is this the right thing to do? Is it appropriate to turn on your hazard lights in a downpour to let others know you’re moving slowly? We checked the facts, and you might be surprised by what we found out.
It’s Illegal to Use Hazard Lights in a Downpour in Florida
While you’ll probably see Florida drivers turn on their hazard lights during a downpour, it’s illegal. In Palm Beach County, drivers can receive a $116 ticket for using their hazard lights during a downpour, or any other time that’s not appropriate. So, when is it appropriate?
When can Florida drivers use hazard lights?
At this point, you’re probably wondering when Florida drivers can use their hazard lights. According to Florida law, hazard lights should only be used when a vehicle is disabled and not moving. The only exception to the rule is when a car is taking part in a funeral procession.
Why Hazard Light Usage is Limited
If you’re wondering what the big deal is, we’ll tell you. According to Florida Highway Patrol spokesman Sgt. Mark Mysocky, in an article published last year in The Palm Beach Post, the use of hazard lights at any other time than what’s appropriate can be misleading. Sgt. Mysocky went on to explain that Florida drivers who use hazard lights during torrential rains may think they’re helping others, but they’re actually causing havoc on the road.
Confusion occurs because some vehicles use the same bulbs for hazard lights as they use for brake and turn signals. When heavy rains make it difficult to see, it’s important for all drivers to behave the same way to avoid unneeded confusion.
What You Should do When it Starts to Rain
In Florida, the law states you should immediately turn on your headlights and windshield wipers when it begins to rain. It’s also important not to stop on the roadway for any reason. Instead, do your best to exit the roadway and get to a safe place until the weather passes.
Florida Police take to Social Media to Remind Drivers of Proper Hazard Light Usage
Not only is it illegal to use your hazard lights when it’s raining, but it’s also dangerous. It’s also a pet peeve of other drivers. Florida police agencies have taken advantage of their social media followings to remind drivers that it’s not okay to use hazard lights while driving in the rain.
So, the bottom line is, if you find yourself driving through heavy rains in Florida, or just about anywhere else. Don’t turn on your hazard lights. Instead, use your headlights, turn your windshield wipers on, and reduce your speed. If you’re caught in a downpour, and it’s making you uneasy, reduce your speed and exit the roadway as quickly as possible.
By following the rules of the road, drivers are making what’s already a dangerous situation a little easier to handle. Do your part and spread the word, so more people know how to handle the situation appropriately.