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Why are Hazard lights so widely abused?

I thought they were called Hazard Lights for a reason.

We’ve all seen it:

1. Driving down the highway with a couch strapped to the top of the car

2. Waiting in the motor lobby at the hotel to pick someone up

3. Dropping off movies at Blockbuster, etc

4. Parking in the fire lane at the store

5. Parking in the Handicapped spot

6. Parking otherwise legally to drop off equipment and still turning them on for some reason.

Correct me if i’m wrong, but I thought Hazard lights were designed to make the car more visible in extreme weather, or if the car pukes in the middle of the night and is pulled over on the shoulder of the interstate.

And then there’s brights…

They were originally designed for that but now they’ve sort of adapted to the functions you’re describing. Generally when it’s a loading/unloading situation you use them to communicate to other drivers that you’re parked and so they can safely go around without worrying about you pulling out all of a sudden. In some localities, you’re actually required to use 4-way flashers when parked in a loading zone. Now, some people seem to think that having the 4-ways on means they can park wherever they want in which case they’re more abusing whatever spot they’re illegally parked in than the hazard lights per se.

I use mine anytime other drivers may have difficulty seeing it or when it may be somewhere that other drivers might not expect to find a car or me.

Yes, they are frequently used in the situations that you noted, but that does not mean that their use in those situations was entirely inappropriate. The person driving with a couch on the roof is usually driving below the speed limit, and use of the hazard flashers may help to keep him/her from being rear-ended. And, since that couch may come flying off of the roof, it also helps to warn others to keep their distance. That being said, it is illegal in most (if not all) states to use hazard flashers while a car is in motion.

To my way of thinking, the NON-use of hazard flashers is more of a problem. All too often, I will see a disabled car on the side of the highway with either no lighting at all, or perhaps just the off-side directional flasher in operation. (These are also usually the cars that are parked about 1/4 of an inch from the right lane, despite the fact that there is another four feet of unused shoulder to their right. In other words, these cars are driven by people who are totally oblivious to dangerous situations and how to mimimize that danger.)

Anyway, although you are correct, the “improper” use of hazard flashers is probably one of the least problematic situations that one encounters on the roads on a daily basis. Don’t you think that tailgating, driving on the shoulder, making improper turns, and other violations are more of a problem than the improper use of hazard flashers?

What does it matter?

  1. Hazard lights are supposed to be used if you are diriving below the minimum speed limit or 15 MPH lower than the posted speed limit if there is no minimum, especially if you are driving a truck. This warns the people behind you to slow down. In this case, the car or truck is the hazard.

2.3.4. If the car is parked where it can be hit by traffic, it is a hazard to other drivers.

Truck drivers also use their hazard lights when they are backing up. This might not be a bad idea for all drivers to identify a backing car as a hazard.

And this is why I call them 4 way flashers, and nothing else.

You Probably Wouldn’t Like The Strobe Light On My Child’s School Bus, I’ll Bet!

I think it’s a good idea.

Such situations hardly constitute abuse of the lights. They may be used together with certain illegal actions, but clearly it is not the lights that are the problem. Chill.

I’m going to agree that using the hazard lights is NOT a problem…but # (2, 3, 4, 5, 6) ARE problems. I see it all the time. People are too LAZY to find an appropriate place to park. They think they are so much more important (or is it impotent) then everyone else that they have to park illegally and everyone else has to walk or drive around their inconsiderate *sses. The guy that has to park in the HDCP spot because the only open spot that he can legally park in is just too far way (usually no more then 50’). And we have to wonder why as a country we are so over weight.

I use them for checking my trailer lights.

I’ve owned my new 4runner for 3 years now and that’s the ONLY time I’ve ever used my hazard lights…checking the trailer lights.

I thought of another one. Truck drivers have a set of signals they use. If you want to let another driver know it is safe to get over in front if you, you flash your high beams. After that driver changes lanes, he will say “thank you” by either turning on the hazard lights for a couple flashes or if it is at night he will flash his marker lights to say “thank you.”