By Russ and Tiña De Maris
A short while back we posted a story, “Drive with your hazard flashers on?” pointing to a situation many RVers face: When headed up (or down) a steep grade, and traveling significantly below traffic speed, should you flip on your hazard flashers?
In an opening response to that question we said, “Let’s examine the legality issue, first. A survey of traffic laws from around the country reveals that 20 states generally allow use of hazard lights while driving – we say ‘generally’ as a few say it’s OK ‘unless otherwise posted.’ Ten states flat-out rule using hazard lights while moving as illegal under any circumstances, and the other 20 make it illegal with the exception of special circumstances. And here’s where those circumstances could have a major impact on RVers. Those circumstances generally boil down to a loose phrase: ‘except to indicate a traffic hazard.'”
We included with the story a complete, state-by-state boil-down of applicable hazard flasher law. And that’s probably great, if you travel in a few states, or have a photographic memory. Leave it to one of our sharp readers to come up with an even better idea. Here’s a kudos to Jeff Myers who wrote, “I created [a] map by filling in the colors on a blank map based on the information drawn from the AAA Digest of Motor Laws that was cited in the article you posted. I thought the info in the article was useful, but also thought that a one-page map summarizing the info would be more useful as a travel tool to keep with my atlas in my RV. The Legend/Key is generally based on the following paragraph in your original article.”
Jeff’s colorful graphic is just what the RVing public needs, and we’re happy to include it. If you click on the small graphic in this piece, you’ll get a much larger image of the same graphic that you may want to print out and carry with you in your RV as you travel.
Here’s Jeff’s explanation of the color coding (which is noted more briefly on the graphic):
“GREEN – States shaded Green are states where the use of hazard lights while driving IS PERMITTED. (In some states, this is qualified as ‘unless otherwise posted.’)
“RED – States shaded Red are states where the use of hazard lights while driving IS NOT PERMITTED. (In some states, this is qualified as ‘except in an emergency situation.’ The focus of your original article was on situations where RVs were traveling slowly during steep climbs, which I did not consider to be emergencies, as noted in the footnote I included on the graphic.)
“YELLOW – States shaded in Yellow are states where use of hazard lights is not allowed, EXCEPT TO INDICATE A TRAFFIC HAZARD. In two cases (Colorado and Oklahoma), the language regarding traffic hazard is such (less than 25 mph in Colorado, and a traffic hazard that is also an emergency situation in Oklahoma) that including these with the Red states seemed appropriate.”
Thanks again, Jeff, for sharing this useful map/tool.