Blog: Stupid drivers need hazard lights
17:01 18 September 2015
You and I know them as hazard warning lights – that red switch with a white triangle that makes all your vehicle’s indicators flash – but I’m convinced many drivers think of them as ‘park anywhere’ lights.
Stop in the most daft and dangerous place, for the most unnecessary thing, as long as you put those lights on.
You see people in cars on the side of busy roads, the brow of a hill or blocking a side road, while on a hand-held mobile phone, with hazard lights on. Because they have stopped, in their minds, they are not driving. It’s selfish and makes me cross!
Can any mobile phone call be so important you need to stop there and then to answer it with no idea, or care, if other road-users are at risk.
I was amazed at the weekend to see a driver pulls up just round a right-hand blind bend, put those park anywhere lights on and go off to post a letter.
If there had been vehicles coming from both directions, and one had pulled round that parked car, it could have resulted in a nasty head-on.
No matter how carefully you drive you can’t make allowances for other people’s stupidity when it comes to stopping and parking.
And on a busy country road, two cyclists stopped just after a left-hand bend. It was a 60mph zone and a car, coming round the bend, swerved round them into my lane. If I had been 30 or 40 yards further on that’s where I would have been. If the cyclists had gone another 100 yards there was a track into woods off the road.
Rule 116 of the Highway Code about hazard warning lights says:
“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.”
And rule 149 about mobile phones:
“You MUST NOT use a hand-held mobile phone, or similar device, when driving or when supervising a learner driver, except to call 999 or 112 in a genuine emergency when it is unsafe or impractical to stop. Never use a hand-held microphone when driving. Using hands-free equipment is also likely to distract your attention from the road. It is far safer not to use any telephone while you are driving or riding – find a safe place to stop first or use the voicemail facility and listen to messages later.”
Highways England, the government company charged with driving forward our motorways and major A roads, says driving is using a motor vehicle on public roads and can include when a vehicle is stopped at traffic lights or during a traffic hold-up. Therefore you should not use that time to make or receive a call. Park safely and then use the phone – but not on the motorway hard shoulder.
So hang up, shut up and park up... safely.
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