Flashing hazard lights OK’d for drivers in certain conditions

You’ll soon be allowed to turn your hazard lights on when driving conditions are tough, but there’s a catch.

For years, the Florida Highway Patrol has told drivers to leave them off in the rain because they can cause potentially harmful consequences, like other drivers mistaking the flashers for turn signals, as Lt. Greg Bueno reminded drivers last year.

“As long as you’re traveling along the road, your hazard lights cannot be on; you’re not able to use your turn signals, it’s confusing to people,” he said.

But come this July, drivers will be able to use their flashing hazard lights – in certain conditions.

The weather has to be bad – think driving rain or heavy fog. And you can only do it on high-speed roads like I-75.

“Very confusing, it will be very confusing,” said Jerry Dunn of Cape Coral. “Over the years I was told not to do it, and it makes sense not to do it.”

So, how did using hazard lights get the green light? State lawmakers passed a 38-page transportation bill in April. Two lines in that bill gave the OK, but only for use on roads with speeds 55 mph or higher, and only when conditions create “extremely low visibility.”

“You just can’t see real good, so ya make it more visible if you got the hazards on,” said Derrik Willis of Venice.

“Sometimes it’s dark, blinding rain, you can’t see, but with the flashing lights, you be more aware, cautious,” said Bubba Codie of Fort Myers.

Unless Gov. Ron DeSantis vetoes the bill, flashers will be fair game come July 1.

The AAA says just 10 states prohibit the use of hazard lights while driving, and if DeSantis signs the transportation bill, that’ll drop to nine in July.

Reporter:Sydney Persing
Writer:Jackie Winchester
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