Effective July 1, Florida drivers can use hazard lights on highways through fog and rain

Hazard Light button in vehicle – Courtesy: Shutterstock – Image by  oatawa

Florida residents know all too well that raining and driving pair together like warm apple pie and ice cream—except the latter is easily the preferred pair of the two.

The reason we bring up rain and driving is because every Florida driver has experienced the terror that is handling a vehicle through a torrential downpour. And anyone who has done it multiple times in varying degrees of rain cover can attest it is not safe.

But, something that also isn’t safe, is driving with hazard lights on.

Hazard lights are distracting and if used in the wrong situation can lead to large fines and citations.

However, a newly-passed bill in Florida will expand driver’s rights to use the blinking indicators in more than just emergency situations.

SB 1194 will soon allow drivers to utilize their vehicles’ hazard lights during heavy fog and rain conditions, a previously illegal action, pending a Gov. Ron DeSantis sign-off. 

For years, drivers have used their distracting lights in such conditions as a buffer between themselves and other vehicles on the road when driving in rainy or foggy conditions. Those same drivers also tend to drive well under the speed limit and pose a serious threat to other drivers in the slippery and hard-to-see conditions, causing accidents and traffic congestion.

Hazard lights, traditionally located somewhere near the head unit of the vehicle and commonly identified by a red triangle, are meant to be used as an indicator for other vehicles on the road that your car is experiencing problems, malfunctioning, or to communicate with other drivers that you are attempting to pull off the road safely.

When the button is activated, all lighting indicators on the vehicle blink simultaneously to let other drivers know to proceed with caution when near the vehicle.

Instead, they are used loosely in varying scenarios, most of which are unlawful.

While citations are rarely enforced, they are still being handed out if found to violate the law. According to a WFLA article published in May, 16 citations have been issued in 2021 in Florida. 

If Gov. Ron DeSantis approves and signs the bill, the measure will go into effect on July 1, 2021.

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