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Informer: Driving with hazard lights on not illegal

Last Modified: Friday, July 26, 2013 2:55 PM

By Andrew Perzo / American Press

Is it true that it’s illegal to use you car’s hazard lights while the car is moving, that you can only use them if the car’s parked at the roadside?

No, said state police Sgt. James Anderson.

He cited two relevant statutes:

R.S. 32:327: “Flashing lights are prohibited except on authorized emergency vehicles, school buses, or on any vehicle as a means of indicating a right or left turn, or the presence of a vehicular traffic hazard requiring unusual care in approaching, overtaking or passing.”

R.S. 32:300.3: “No person shall operate a vehicle in a funeral procession unless the headlights of such vehicle are lighted and its emergency lights are flashing.”

“Most people associate flashing hazard lights with vehicles that have broken down along the roadside or have been involved in a crash,” Anderson wrote in an email.

“There are, however, times when the use of hazard lights while moving would be appropriate under the law.

“These include, but are not limited to, driving significantly slower than other traffic (i.e., driving with a compact spare tire with a maximum rated speed of 50 mph, driving with an oversize load) or upon encountering stopped traffic on the interstate and using hazard lights to maximize your vehicle’s visibility so that you aren’t struck from behind.”

He pointed out that using hazard lights doesn’t mean you can disregard traffic laws.


Audience confusion integral to story, film

In the movie “Duel” with Dennis Weaver, why is the man chasing the Dennis Weaver character? I’ve seen this movie on several occasions and still don’t understand why the man in the tanker truck is chasing down the car with Dennis Weaver in it.

The truck driver presumably chases Weaver’s character because the man — named David Mann — successfully passes the tanker, despite the trucker’s attempts to stymie him by swerving.

But that’s really beside the point. You’re supposed to be confused when you watch the film, which is based on a short story and screenplay by “I Am Legend” author Richard Matheson.

The terror experienced by Mann and the audience is heightened by the lack of any apparent reason for the truck driver’s behavior.

“All I did was pass the stupid rig a couple of times, and he goes flying off the deep end,” Mann tells himself as he sits in Chuck’s Cafe after careering off the highway. “He has to be crazy.”

Steven Spielberg, who directed “Duel,” commented on the unsettling nature of the short story in an introduction to the piece, which was reprinted in a 2004 issue of the fiction publication Zoetrope All-Story.

“The most frightening aspect of the story for me, and a device put to chilling use in the screenplay for Duel as well, was the fact that this maniacal truck driver went unseen the entire story,” Spielberg wrote.

“By limiting him to a waving arm out the window or a pair of boots seen under the truck, Richard shrouded this Grendel of gridlock in mystery, and pushed the truck itself to the forefront as the antagonist of the story. Equally disturbing was the seemingly random selection of Mann’s car among all those on the road, a chilling notion even in today’s road rage-filled society.”

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The Informer answers questions from readers each Sunday, Monday and Wednesday. It is researched and written by Andrew Perzo, an American Press staff writer. To ask a question, call 494-4098, press 5 and leave voice mail, or email

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