Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: When Should Hazard Lights Be Used?

asked by on

When should hazard lights be used?

A: Hazard lights are used for emergency situat...

Hazard lights are used for emergency situations and to alert other drivers to issues such as poor road conditions or vehicle breakdown. They are suggested in situations like heavy rain or blinding snow when you have to reduce speed for safe travel.

Trucks, especially large tractor trailers, will use them when going uphill as they drop below the rated road speed. School buses and certain vehicles which haul hazardous materials will use them when stopping at railroad crossings. They are also used when going through school zones or on the back of vehicles being towed.

The actual use of the hazard lights can vary from state to state so it is best to check with your state and local laws concerning their proper use. The correct way to enable your hazard lights is to activate them via a switch attached to your turn signals or by a separate switch on your steering column or dash.

The lights operate by making and breaking the circuit connection internally through a part called a flasher. This acts as a sort of cycling circuit breaker to supply the power on and off to control all of the turning lights on the exterior of the vehicle, as well as the two indicator lights on the dash assembly. Like all safety equipment, they should be checked regularly for proper operation so when they are needed you can feel assured they are ready to work properly.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Save up to 30%

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: What does the ABS Warning Light mean?

The ABS Warning Light is located on the instrument panel. When there is a problem with the ABS (anti-lock brake system), or the brake assist system, the light will illuminate. As brakes are the most important safety feature on your...

Q: What light bulbs should I use as replacements?

Your car has a very wide range of bulbs used in various places, from the headlights to your Brake lights to the Dome and Map lights inside the car. Making sure you have the right bulb for replacement is vital....

Q: Hazard lights don't work

Hi, thanks for writing in. The hazard warning lights and turn signal lights utilize the same flasher unit, but with different wiring connections. It appears the hazard warning portion of the flasher unit (internals) has failed. I would recommend a...

Related articles

What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the P0052 code means This code is seen when the Engine Control Module (ECM) tries to control the...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...