It is especially the case, that in poor visibility many drivers are using hazard lights. On dark unlit highways, in fog, the road ahead can turn into a virtual DISCO!
It is then impossible to see vehicles indicating to change lanes or identify vehicles which are stationary.
The problem is compounded by trucks and buses which have yellow hazard lights connected to their braking system.
They should not be used to supplement braking lights which are already high intensity steady red. People should not be using them as they approach pedestrian crossings to let pedestrians cross and they should not be used on highways except in an emergency.
A Hazard light should only have one purpose – that is to highlight STATIONARY HAZARDS.
As the word “hazard light” suggests, you should only use your hazard lights when your vehicle becomes a temporary hazard for other road users. This does not mean, in my view, that your vehicle needs to be in full stop. If this was the case, the car manufacturers could disable the hazard lights if the cars are not in full stop, which I would find wrong. However, the UAE driving regulation seems to suggest hazard lights are to be used in a full stop only and this requires some debate and clarification in my view.
Three examples when you might want to use hazard lights while not in full stop are:
(a) Any type of sudden usual breaking or turning or driving, which might be a hazard to other road users. This can happen when you suddenly need to break while you encounter slow moving traffic on a fast-moving road or highway.
(b) To indicate that you have encountered a traffic accident ahead. While you might not need to stop if your road is clear, other vehicles overtaking you or driving in different lanes might actually need to stop or avoid hazard as there might be obstacles, police or ambulance vehicles, or injured people in other lines on the road.
(c) Due to heavy fog, in particular on a highway. In some fogs, I encountered, you cannot see anything and the roads are not driving safe. However, when you stop and wait for the fog to pass, you are risking being a huge traffic hazard due to low visibility. Hazard lights are the only option for cars which keep driving slowly.
There needs to be a debate on this and the regulations need to be clearer. For instance, it seems that according to the UAE driving regulations the above examples should not be a reason for the use of hazard lights. However, since it is not clear, in my view particularly drivers who care about their safety and safety of others use hazard lights in these conditions to for safety reason.
I agree with the original post. This is how it is in US. People in Dubai follow too closely to the car in front of them at max speed linit or faster. The brake lights in front of you are designed to let you know that you may need to brake soon. Taking your right hand off the steering to look for the “hazard” button is more dangerous than concentrating on braking hard at speed. If you are following too close to a car to not be able to emergency brake from the brake lights in front of you, you are too close to that car. Using the flashers for braking is more hazardous than “helpful”. Use good judgment and common sense instead.