Florida law dictates hazard lights are only for emergencies, not severe weather

We’ve heard it time and time again: Do not turn your flashing lights on during severe weather on the road. So, why do we keep doing it?

Troopers say that poor driving practice may have caused a horrific crash on I-75 in Estero Wednesday night that sent six people to the hospital, including a child.

Estero firefighters say two blinking lights were to blame; a vehicle with its flashers on in the center lane.

Florida Highway Patrol Lieutenant Greg Bueno said drivers need to get the message: No matter if it’s pouring or it looks like a monsoon, it is against the law to drive in the rain with your hazard lights on.

We asked some drivers if they knew of the law. Most people had no idea, and others just said they didn’t know what else to do.

“I had heard that they don’t want you to drive with the hazard lights on, even in the rain,” said Ron Prevost. But he also said, “Well, I don’t want to get rear-ended on the freeway and if I can’t keep up 45 miles per hour, I’ve got to alert the people behind that I’ve got a problem.”

FHP says it is a huge safety issue—just ask the people involved in the Estero crash.

“The more flashing lights that are going on as we travel down the road, it’s confusing to people,” Bueno said. “Also, if your flashers are on, you’re not able to use your turn signals and, in some makes and models, it masks your brake lights; in other words, your brake lights are working simultaneously.”

So when is it okay to use your flashers? “The only time you’re allowed to use your hazard lights in the State of Florida is if your vehicle’s off the road stalled, there’s some sort of vehicle malfunction or if your vehicle stopped in the road due to it becoming disabled,” Bueno said. “They are emergency flashers and that’s the only time that someone would use those.”

As for those rainy days, Bueno says if you don’t feel comfortable driving, don’t. “If conditions are so bad that you feel as if it’s dangerous at that time to drive because you can’t see, where you’re afraid someone else can’t see you, get off at the next exit and stop driving.”

The only exception to the rule is if you are in a funeral procession.

Reporter:Anika Henanger
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