YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Ohio state law says it’s illegal to drive and have your hazard lights on at the same time.
So with all the thunderstorms we’ve had, what do you do when you have to slow down? Turns out, the law has special cases for severe weather.
“The law is the law,” OSHP Sgt. Eric Brown said. “The law states you’re not allowed to have flashing lights on a motor vehicle.”
From Monday to Friday, the rain kept coming in waves. This made driving difficult during the heavy downpours.
There were people driving slow and putting on their hazards.
According to state law, flashing lights are prohibited on motor vehicles — except as a means for indicating a right or left turn or in the presence of a vehicular traffic hazard requiring unusual care.
So does this mean that you’ll get pulled over for using your hazards? The answer is no.
“It’s in the interest of safety,” Brown said. “And we’re not going to cite somebody that’s out there trying to make themselves safe or alert others on the roadway.”
Also stated, this section does not prohibit the use of warning lights required by law on vehicles being operated in unfavorable atmospheric conditions.
But if a strong storm reduces visibility and you have to pull over, experts say it is much safer finding a safe place rather than to pull over on the side of the road.
“You definitely don’t want to be stopped on the side of the road,” Brown said. “We know from previous crashes we’ve had here recently that that’s very dangerous.”
“People tend to follow lights,” Greg Anderson, president of All-Star Driving School, said. “So if you’re off on the side of the road and you turn on your lights, people might steer into you.”
So the next time you find yourself caught in a storm, take the next exit ramp or find parking where you can pull over safely.