Did you know that using your hazard lights in poor weather conditions is illegal in some states? Interestingly, South Carolina is not one of them. Currently, there are no laws prohibiting the use of hazard lights during heavy rain in the Palmetto State. However, let’s review when it is and is not recommended to use your car’s hazard lights.

Why You Should Not Use Hazard Lights in Heavy Rain

If you live in South Carolina or have visited our state, you are likely aware that we are often hit by unexpected rain storms. If you’re caught in a rainstorm on the road, especially a highway, you may wonder if you should turn your hazard lights on. Although it’s not illegal to do so in SC, there are many arguments made for why you should NOT drive with the hazards on during poor weather conditions. These include:

1. Hazard lights may confuse other drivers.

Hazard lights are typically used to signal one’s car is stopped, broken down, or needs assistance – for instance due to an accident. Using hazards simply because it is storming outside or there is heavy traffic can confuse other drivers sharing the road.

2. Turn signals may not work when hazard lights are on.

When your hazards are on, the turn indicators in your car may stop working. This means that other drivers are not able to see if you’re merging or turning, therefore unable to predict your movements. This can be a safety issue for you and others on the road.

3. Hazard lights can reduce other drivers’ visibility.

When your hazards are on, drivers behind you may not be able to clearly see the drivers in front of you.

Tips for Driving in South Carolina Rainstorms

If you’re caught in a heavy rainstorm or are planning to drive in the rain, here are a few safety tips you should consider.

  1. Plan your route – If you need to drive or continue driving in heavy rain, it’s in your best interest to know which streets you may need to avoid due to flooding or other conditions.
  2. Turn on your headlights – In South Carolina, you are legally required to turn on your lights when your windshield wipers are on. 
  3. Maintain a safe following distance – When it’s raining and roads are slick, it’s always a good idea to give yourself extra space away from other vehicles on the road. 
  4. Slow down – Hydroplaning happens when your vehicle’s tires lose grip on the road and instead travel on water, like puddles. This can severely affect your ability to steer or brake. Slowing down can help reduce the risk of hydroplaning.
  5. Drive predictably – Avoid any sudden movements when driving on slick roads.
  6. Pull over if you’re uncomfortable – A good rule of thumb is to safely pull over and wait for the storm to pass if you’re having a hard time seeing or controlling your vehicle.

It’s always better to be safe than sorry. Use caution and have patience when driving in poor weather conditions. Safety is the utmost priority.

When You Should Use Your Hazard Lights in South Carolina

In South Carolina, “hazard lights may be used while driving for the purpose of warning the operators of other vehicles of the presence of a vehicular traffic hazard requiring the exercise of unusual care in approaching, overtaking or passing.” 

Situations when you should turn on your hazard lights in SC include:

  • If you’ve been in an accident
  • If your car is broken down
  • If you’re in a funeral procession
  • If you’re being pulled over

Reputable Car Accident Lawyers in South Carolina

One of our goals as a firm is to make SC roads a safer place for residents and visitors. One way we do this is by providing accessible education on your rights on the road. If you have any questions about when to use your hazard lights, driving in SC rainstorms, or another question, just let us know. We’re happy to help.

Our award-winning car accident lawyers have over 60 years of combined experience representing car accident cases in Columbia, Charleston, and throughout the state. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, we’re here to get you the justice and support you deserve. For a free case evaluation, call our SC car accident law firm today at (803) 888-2200.