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VERIFY: Is it legal to use hazard lights while driving?

Viewer Charles Davidson asked KHOU to verify the proper use of vehicle hazard lights with DPS.

HOUSTON - Just before storms rolled through the Houston area on Monday, KHOU viewer Charles Davidson emailed in with a question.

“I was always taught hazard lights were for when you were broke down on the side of the road,” he wrote. “Could you verify with DPS the proper use of vehicle hazard lights?”

To get the answer to Davidson’s question, KHOU 11 spoke to Sgt. Stephen Woodard with the Texas Department of Public Safety and Chinedu Ubezonu, a nine-year instructor at Road Ready Driving School in Houston.

“Generally, hazard lights are for the driver’s safety,” Woodard said.

Traditionally, we’re taught to turn on our flashing hazard lights when we pull off to the side of the road. Woodard said there are a lot of other situations in which your car can be considered a hazard.

“If you feel like conditions are unsafe, whether your vehicle is having mechanical issues, whether you have a flat and you’re just trying to get to the next exit, if there’s inclement weather,” he said.

However, different states have different rules when it comes to flipping on your flashers while you're driving. It's illegal in places like Florida or Louisiana.

“You’re not supposed to use hazard lights unless your car is stalled,” Ubezonu said.

Here in Texas, using them during inclement weather isn’t just allowed, DPS encourages it.

“Bottom line: we want Texans to be safe, so we afford the driver every opportunity and every means on their vehicle as a safety precaution to make themselves feel safe,” said Woodard.

KHOU 11 can verify that DPS says using your hazard lights while you’re driving is acceptable if you feel like you’re in danger.

VERIFY: Sources

Sgt. Stephen Woodard, Texas Department of Public Safety
Chinedu Ubezonu, Road Ready Driving School

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