Ask The Traffic School Instructor: Emergency Flashers
October 1, 2014
Question: Should You use your emergency flashers when it is raining hard?
Answer: This is a common sight, especially in the South where heavy summer thunderstorms hit often. Driving with your emergency flashers on is not only illegal, it’s a really bad idea.
Emergency flashers are only supposed to be used on disabled vehicles to warn other drivers away. They can’t be used in the rain or to identify slow moving vehicles and there are good reasons for this.
Having personally witnessed multiple drivers using their flashers in heavy traffic during a rain storm, I can tell you it made it very confusing for me and, I’m sure, other drivers. The flashers made it hard to tell the difference between the vehicle’s emergency flashers and the brake lights. Determining when the brake lights came on was even more difficult because people tend to ignore the lights on a vehicle whose lights are continually flashing. It also makes it difficult to distinguish between a vehicle that is moving and one that may actually be disabled and stopped. With the lowered visibility due to the rain, the flashers just added to the hazards.
If it’s raining so hard that visibility is reduced to the point where you can’t see other traffic, drivers should pull off the road and wait until the storm passes. If you pull off the road and stop, then the emergency flashers can and should be used.
Using your emergency flashers to indicate that you are driving slower than other traffic is also illegal. Vehicles with mattresses tied to the roof with string or cars running on less than all cylinders don’t belong on the road. If you need to carry something that won’t fit inside your vehicle, you need to rent a trailer or a van. If your vehicle is unable, for whatever reason, to keep up with the flow of traffic, you should also stay off the road until the condition can be fixed.