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Hazard Lights

What are Hazard Lights in a Car? When Should They Be Turned On?

Hazard lights, as the name suggests are a way to inform passersby about a potential hazard. In this article, you'll know more about these lights and their functions.
Sujata Iyer
Last Updated: Sep 25, 2017
All around the world, cars, trucks, trailers, and other types of heavy automobiles are equipped with headlights, brake lights, fog lamps, rear lights, hazard lights and other types of lights that serve different purposes. In this article, we will be focusing on hazard lights. Hazard lights are those lights which are indicative of a potential hazard that the vehicle flashing it may pose. When the lights are switched on, the four indicators (front and rear - right and left) begin to blink at the same time. This is an indication to all the vehicles passing it that there may be some problem with it. They are also called warning flashers, warning lights, flashers or 4-way flashers. These lights have to be independent of any other lighting or indication system provided in the car.
How to Turn on Hazard Lights
All automobiles come with a reference manual. Go through this manual to find out how to put on your hazard lights. Else, it is general practice to install a triangular bulb in the console that is behind the steering wheel. A button is placed on the console or on the steering wheel (depending on the type, model and make of the car) to turn the hazard lights on. When this button is pushed or pulled, the triangular bulb will start flashing on the console, and the four blinkers outside will flash simultaneously.
When to Use Hazard Lights
Though most people use hazard lights for mundane and unimportant things like speaking on the cell-phone while in traffic (which is illegal, mind you) or lighting a cigarette or adjusting the music system, the actual purpose behind the installation of these lights is to communicate a possible danger to the oncoming or passing traffic.
Given below are some of the occasions when you can and should use hazard lights.
  • When you are experiencing a sudden car problem in the middle of traffic, switch on the lights and slowly pull over. Keep the lights flashing till the problem is solved.
  • In case of dense fog, you can switch on the hazard lights to warn traffic on both the sides of the road.
  • When traffic on a usually traffic-free road is slow or stalled for some reason, you can turn on the hazard lights to indicate to the traffic behind you that traffic ahead of you is stalled.
  • Another situation in which you can turn on hazard lights is when you are moving up a steep slope, which has caused your vehicle to slow down considerably. The blinkers will tell the vehicles behind you to proceed with caution.
Precautions to be Taken
  • If your hazard lights do not work, take your car to a trusted mechanic and get them fixed at once.
  • Sometimes, you may experience the opposite, that is, the hazard lights won't turn off. This is a fairly common car problem, which can be undone with a simple look at the wiring harness. You might need a replacement of only the switch if you're lucky. Otherwise, you'll have to replace the wiring harness.
  • Use hazard lights only in genuinely hazardous situations.
  • When you turn on the lights, and your problem has been solved, do not forget to switch off the lights. Keeping them on may act as a distraction to other drivers and can also confuse them. This can be dangerous to everyone traveling on the road.
Hazard lights are an important safety measure that your car is equipped with. So take care and ensure that they are in proper working condition, always. Regular repair and maintenance and following driving rules and regulations is the best way to enjoy a safe and pleasant driving experience. So, never overestimate yourself or underestimate the importance of safe driving.
Hazard light