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Proper use of hazard lights

My philosophy is that a citation is a heck of a lot less expensive than a funeral. I’ll use them whenever I feel it’s important to warn (or “wake up”) other drivers of any potentially dangerous situation.

+1 to mountainbike’s philosophy.

Instead of hazards, I flash the brake lights ( tap on the pedal three times or so ) when I feel the traffic behind needs to know there’s something more going on than me just slowing down…and I can plan far enough ahead.
It would take me longer to fish for that button than to tap the brake pedal a bunch of times when the need to know is NOW and not two seconds later.

With a truck my size it can be hard for the cars behind to see what I can see ahead of me and I have found it beneficial to flash the brake lights…I can truly see the difference in their reaction back there…it really helps…especially at the turn off to school in the morning when the left turn ‘‘lane’’ is over-run and backed up into the driving lane a dozen cars deep. I can see that from my vantage point and graciously warn the cars behind far in advance. ( a month ago I drove past a four car chain wreck that happened because of this left turn debockle…a block and a half back from the turn. ) There’s a stupid 30’ island there so that all the left turners can not just get into the middle universal turning lane and wait safely there.


I had a throttle cable break on my motorcycle long ago and was stuck with an idling engine. I was able to limp home by turning up the idle speed adjustment to a fast idle. This allowed me to go 20-30 mph on the shoulder of the highway. This was one of the situations I turned on the emergency flashers.

Motorcycles come with hazards now? Granted the last road bike I had was a 1976, it didn’t have hazards.

I use them as you do, @meanjoe75fan‌: whenever I am stopped in a dangerous place, like the highway shoulder, or when moving much slower than traffic.

“Instead of hazards, I flash the brake lights ( tap on the pedal three times or so ) when I feel the traffic behind needs to know there’s something more going on than me just slowing down…”

Actually, Ken, I do both.
First, I flash my brake lights a few times, and then I activate my hazard flashers.

I remember a guy I used to pass on my interstate commute, going the min of 45 on 65mph 3 lane expressway, Had his hazards flashing plus a big sign on the back, “PASS KINDLY PLEASE” now you fill in the rest of the story. I was never considering anything other than this guy is trying to make it, give him a break.

I too do both. It’s a heck of a lot cheaper than getting slammed in the rear. Less painful, too.

Barky, you have a good heart. I would be more inclined to suggest that perhaps he (or someone close to him) should reconsider whether he should still be driving.

I used to see a guy like that most mornings too. Can’t remember anymore what he drove but think it was a small Chevette or something. No sign and no hazards but he’d be going about 50 hanging on for dear life, eyes straight ahead. He was not to be distracted. I suspected he might have been a grad student where money was more important than time.

Yosemete forgetting his strap bag reminded me. When the kid still lived 50 miles away, one Sat morn I got a call that the storm had blown half a tree on his garage and pierced through the roof. I threw rope, and tools, and tarpaper, and anything else I thought we could use that day and headed up there. Opened the trunk and I had everything except the chain saw. Gas but no saw. So one hour back home again to get the saw and one hour back to his house again and got started a little later. Old age maybe. Now it would be 13 hours there and 13 hours back.

@‌ PvtPublic

Motorcycles come with hazards now? Granted the last road bike I had was a 1976, it didn’t have hazards

My 2001 Kawasaki ZRX1200R had them. Strangely, my new 2013 Ninja 300 doesn’t. Yes, I did a major downsize. I need to get 70 mpg and be able to easily park in small places a lot more than I need to go 140 mph.

@B.L.E. I suffered a broken throttle cable with my 1971 Mustang (250 ci I6 AT) that I had purchased as a reliable and economical car for my 56 mile (each way) commute in 1980. On my way home I had only travelled a handful of miles on the interstate when the cable broke. Fortunately I was able to park beneath an overpass with triple the normal breakdown lane space and turn on my 4 way flashers. I barely had time to open the hood and check if there was enough cable left to reattach (not) when an Oregon State Trooper stopped behind me to see what the problem was. I showed him the broken cable and suggested I could possibly increase the idle speed and maintain the minimum 45mph speed. He agreed it was worth trying and said he would follow me to ensure it worked. He also advised me to leave my 4 way flashers on. He followed me for about 10 miles with his flashers on until I left city congestion. I was able to maintain nearly 50mph in a 55mph speed zone. He passed me giving me a thumbs up which I returned with a salute and went on his way. I received no horn honks or single finger gestures and made it home OK. I’m thinking states that prohibit driving with 4 way flashers on may have a problem with impatient idiots using them falsely as a way to have an advantage over congested traffic.

I’m also reasonably sure that a 2001 Kawasaki ZRX1200R can exceed 140mph! My 18 year old Son was convinced that a 1986 Ninja 900 could go 200mph. That’s what the speedometer said. I read a road test where it did top out at 157mph which is about 90mph faster than I would care to drive a motorcycle. I have ridden a few and owned 3. 1965 Honda 305 Scrambler, 1966 Triumph 650 Bonneville, and 1981 Yamaha 650. I touched 70mph once on the Triumph but I was 19 years old and “immortal”! I am a very safe motorcyclist because they (and much larger motor vehicles) scare me.

I’d be happy if people used the turn signals for left and right properly.

@sgtrock, nice gesture by the state trooper for allowing you to do that.

I’d be happy if 2 seconds of a red light is not equal to yellow. Waiting watching, really?

I am surprised to learn many states allow hazard lights when moving. I have been corrected so many times I assumed all states had only when parked laws.

Here in Mexico, those lights are definitely used as hazard lights. Any time you are going to do anything at a different speed than other cars, or are going to do something unexpected, on they come. And, if you are driving slowly in a long group of cars also driving very slowly, it is common to put the blinkers on. Sort of a cultural norm, I think.

ok4450 A major peeve is lack of turn signal use. An old joke was that Cadillac and Suburban owners did not check the turn signal box on the option list. A few years ago I figured out that most turn signal use failure was due to having to disconnect the cell phone from ear for 2 seconds in order to flick the turn signal lever thingy. When cellphone use while driving became a $100 plus primary citation turn signals resumed being used. It lasted a few months until the idiotic news media reported that law enforcement was not citing cell phone while driving users. I am guessing the non cell phone using drivers not signaling just don’t want to spoil the surprise. What really upsets me are the ones who signal halfway through a lane change or turn. Don’t bother. I already know!!!

Barkydog I consider purposely running red lights and stop signs the most dangerous of traffic law infractions. Many years ago I was next to a city police cruiser at a red light on a 4 lane plus center turn lane boulevard. Four vehicles in the oncoming left turn lane ran the red light. I knew this as my light and the police car’s light was GREEN! At the second vehicle turning I honked my horn and pointed at the offending vehicles. The police officer purposely turned away from me and did nothing. After crossing the intersection I pulled into a parking lot and wrote down the police car’s license number, car number, location, time, and date. I wrote a letter of complaint to the DA. Response? Absolutely nothing. Like the above addressed cell phone law. If law enforcement and their superiors choose not to enforce laws, what good are they?

@sgrrock, a few months back I had to go to a Walgreens one evening to pick up a prescription for my wife. It wasn’t ready yet so I just pulled around and sat for a few minutes watching the busiest intersection in town. It was well after dusk and I see a Mazda 3 stop at the traffic light.

The car was black and did not have a sign of lighting on it front or rear along with no brake lights.
I saw a police car approaching and my thought was “well, this guy is toast…”.

Nope. The light went green and the Mazda went straight ahead in traffic while the cop pulling up behind the Mazda made a right and went on.

I thought flashers were required to be on if you where under the speed limit by X MPH.

I noted that my state is one that stupidly prohibits flasher use while moving. I also note that I see a lot of vehicles running with them on for a variety of reasons. Notably, flammable tanker trucks, school buses and city buses always flash when approaching railroad crossings where they are required to stop to look for trains. I figured THAT was the law. (Insert sarcasm here) I think that is an excellent idea. It gives the drivers behind them an opportunity to floor their vehicles so they can fly by in the no passing zone approaching every crossing. Heaven knows no one should ever have to follow a bus or tanker.

There are a lot of laws that are so stupid that even the cops don’t obey or enforce them, or only enforce them when breaking those laws causes problems.
It’s like riding a bicycle on a sidewalk, it’s illegal, but if you are in the suburbs and have the sidewalk all to yourself and aren’t causing pedestrians to dodge you, most cops have better things to do with their time than cite you.

Quoting ok4450

"The car was black and did not have a sign of lighting on it front or rear along with no brake lights.
I saw a police car approaching and my thought was “well, this guy is toast…”.

About 12 years ago my daughter was spending an evening in town. She had a cute little sports car. She stopped for gas and forgot to turn on her lights as she left the stop and rob. A local cop, not one of the city’s finest, pulled her over and accused her and her friend off all sorts of behavior, some of it criminal, and some of it just plain immoral. Among other things, he accused them of being hookers. They are elementary school teachers. He had both girls in tears. To his credit, he did not give her a ticket. What he didn’t know was that my daughter knows a lot of police officers, one of whom just happened to be the jerk’s Lieutenant, AKA boss. She had him on her cell phone within five minutes. The jerk got three days off without pay. A year later he ate his gun. Some people should not be cops.

By the end of next year, every officer in the city will have a body camera. Good idea.