Some of you may hazard to guess
When I’m teaching my students how to drive at Young Drivers of Canada I’ll ask them to list the different ways they can communicate to other road users while driving. Most answers they give me include their signals, brake lights, head lights and of course the horn. Some of them are pretty knowledgeable and let me know about the reverse lights but most times they forget about one communication device that is just as important to ensure we have a cooperative driving community. Do you know what it is? Some of you may hazard to guess.
As a driver we need to remember that being a courteous driver is something that should always cross our mind. If you are stopped outside of a business waiting for your passenger to come out, it’s a good idea to put on your 4-way flashers – your hazard lights – to communicate to those approaching from behind to go around you. If you were stopped and just left your foot on the brake, your brake lights would be on but those may confuse the driver approaching from behind. They may think you’ll begin moving again shortly when in fact you would be stopped for quite a few minutes.
Another good time to put on your hazard lights is when you’re approaching your driveway or an empty parking space and you want to reverse into it. Let’s say as you approach you notice you have a driver following closely behind you. As you approach the driveway or space put your hazard lights on as you slow down and then stop in front of the space. Once the driver behind passes you, move into position to begin reversing. Your hazard lights gave the driver behind enough information of what your intentions were going to be.
Remember those times when you’re driving along on high speed roadways and traffic comes to a sudden stop just around a curve? This can become quite dangerous and lead to multiple vehicle crashes, considering that most drivers aren’t expecting traffic to come to a halt so quickly. If you put on your hazard lights as you brake, the drivers approaching from behind you will know something is happening and will begin slowing down much sooner. You can turn off your hazard lights once you begin moving again.
Let’s say you’re driving slower than everyone else. Perhaps you have items hanging out of the rear of your vehicle or you’re towing something heavy. If you put on your hazard lights, the drivers following you will have plenty of time to go around you. Remember other drivers can’t read your mind to know what your intentions are. Send a message to ensure you’re all on the same page. Send the message early so as not to frustrate other drivers as well.