Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Three suggestions

If you’re driving on a highway and the traffic suddenly slows or stops, and the vehicles behind you are at some distance:

1. Turn on your hazard lights.

2. Leave significant space between you and the vehicle in front of you.

3. Keep checking your rear-view mirror.
If someone coming up behind you is not paying full attention, your hazard lights might catch their eye and prompt them to slow down or stop in time. If not, the free space in front of your vehicle might lessen the severity of a collision.

I called the Illinois State Police to ask what they thought about using hazard lights in this way. A desk sergeant said it was the right thing to do and added the second and third suggestions. Please, pass them on.

[What prompted me to think about these things? Driving on interstates through rain and fog and using hazard lights when traffic suddenly slowed and I was the last in line. I also left significant space and checked my mirror, but I do those things without thinking and would not have thought to recommend them.]

comments: 2

Matt said...

I remember being taught the "switch your hazards on to let people behind you know of a problem on the motorway" thing when I was doing my driving test years ago in the UK. Sure enough, it's still part of the highway code :

Hazard warning lights. These may be used when your vehicle is stationary, to warn that it is temporarily obstructing traffic. Never use them as an excuse for dangerous or illegal parking. You MUST NOT use hazard warning lights while driving or being towed unless you are on a motorway or unrestricted dual carriageway and you need to warn drivers behind you of a hazard or obstruction ahead. Only use them for long enough to ensure that your warning has been observed."
(from http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/TravelAndTransport/Highwaycode/DG_070302

Sorry - far too long a comment! but wonder why this isn't more standard...

Michael Leddy said...

Me too. I can't recall ever reading anything along these lines.