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 4 Way - Hazard Lights
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debi6emort
Active Member

USA
11 Posts

Posted - 09/24/2008 :  08:08:47 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote


When should a driver use his/her 4-way hazard lights?

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SBD
Active Member

United States
38 Posts

Posted - 09/24/2008 :  08:50:22 AM  Show Profile  Visit SBD's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Approaching and crossing at Railroad Crossings
Approaching an obstruction or delay in the road. i.e. stopped car, construction, etc.
Pulling over to the side of the road.
Hazard light stops...if allowed in your state.

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Bus Boy 39
Top Member

USA
1315 Posts

Posted - 09/24/2008 :  1:54:59 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Backing up

I'll show you my air brakes if you show me yours.
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SBD
Active Member

United States
38 Posts

Posted - 09/24/2008 :  3:02:33 PM  Show Profile  Visit SBD's Homepage  Reply with Quote
So right, Bus boy 39. How did I forget that one???? And, I have 3 backup turnarounds on my run! LOL

Jim

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bus724
Top Member

USA
1609 Posts

Posted - 09/24/2008 :  3:58:05 PM  Show Profile  Visit bus724's Homepage  Send bus724 an AOL message  Reply with Quote
If required to cross the yellow line due to a hazard in the lane (construction, pedestrian, bicycle, fallen tree branch, etc).

If stopping unexpectedly, to warn following vehicles there is a hazard (pedestrian in a crosswalk, stopping for another bus's warning lights, traffic jam on the highway, etc). Also useful to signal the pedestrian that you are stopping.

If slowing down without using the brake lights or travelling below the speed limit, such as on a steep hill.
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mlkdrives41
Top Member

USA
2055 Posts

Posted - 09/24/2008 :  6:26:55 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
My bus is a newer IC which won't activate the yellows unless you are going less than 45 miles per hour. I travel down a main road where cars are traveling (at least) 55 mph. I activate the 4 ways as I approach the stop as I am slowing down to 45 mph. Then I can activate the yellows. If I just slam on the brakes for no apparent reason I'd probably get rear ended by some ying yang hurrying to his job at Wal-Mart.

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JC Theriault
Top Member

Canada
1326 Posts

Posted - 09/24/2008 :  6:55:31 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by bus724

If required to cross the yellow line due to a hazard in the lane (construction, pedestrian, bicycle, fallen tree branch, etc).

If stopping unexpectedly, to warn following vehicles there is a hazard (pedestrian in a crosswalk, stopping for another bus's warning lights, traffic jam on the highway, etc). Also useful to signal the pedestrian that you are stopping.If slowing down without using the brake lights or travelling below the speed limit, such as on a steep hill.




You wouldn't catch me using 4-ways in the highlighted situations, all you've done is tell motorists to go around you. They are called hazard lights for a reason - to tell others that your vehicle is the hazard in the roadway. One of those cars will eventually pass your bus and hit a pedestrian or the kid getting off the other bus or even the pedestrian who sees your lights as a stopping warning will get a false sense of security.

Now who do you think the motorist is going to blame? I'd bet on the bus driver for improper use of lights. Any good lawyer using the road rules and common sense will be able to show the car driver was lead into the situation by the bus driver.

JC
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acap03
Senior Member

USA
53 Posts

Posted - 09/24/2008 :  9:01:23 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have had many discussions over the years with numerous drivers both in NC, PA and at local, state, and the international safety competitions and there is not a doubt in my mind that everyone is going to have a different POV on this.

As for using your hazards when you are approaching a bus that is loading or unloading..I have seen it done in BOTH states that I have driven school bus in, and in NC that is what drivers a "supposed" to do. Our DMV specialist (the guy who trains new drivers/ gives you a NC CDL and school bus pocket card if you are coming from out of state) stressed using your 4-way hazards lights when approaching another bus that is actively loading or unloading.

I personally dont see how this is telling someone to necessarily go around my bus. That would be like saying, dont use your hazards at RR crossings because a car may go around you. I mean, that mindset simply does not make sense IMO.

We use them in any situation to communicate that there is something abnormal or worth slowing down significantly for going on in front of us. I mean, that is what any light on any vehicle is for..communication. Whether it be for road work or any road hazard, school zones (yes we do that here), RR Xing, backing ups, traveling 15 mph or more below the speed limit, other buses actively loading/unloading, breakdowns, etc.

Anytime you can communicate that there is a reason to "wake up" and pay attention because something is going on ahead is most logical.

Now, on the opposite side of the spectrum..currently I am one of 4 senior drivers (fancy term for supervisor) here I have had to deal with a driver that refused to acknowledge why it was not proper procedure to use your hazards in conjunction with you 8-ways. I can see how someone would initially see why more lights going on may help the cause, and that was her argument. The road in question is a 4 lane divided highway with a 55 mph speed limit. It doesn't take much to start to slow down just a little bit sooner and activate you 8-ways enough in advance to give proper notice. Take in mind our school buses are governed at 45 mph..but that doesnt mean she cant start to slow soon and activate the PROPER warning lights at an appropriate time. I myself as many other buses also stop on this major highway that runs through our part of the state and we have never had a problem. So, the outcome was..she stopped the improper use of the hazards with she was making passenger stops.

You can go either way..and since everyone has different logic most everyone is going to have different reasons. I think I have clearly stated my reason(s) and the biggest one is communication, as I do not feel like hazard lights automatically tells someone to pass.

Edited by - acap03 on 09/24/2008 9:03:05 PM
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JC Theriault
Top Member

Canada
1326 Posts

Posted - 09/24/2008 :  11:05:23 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
acap03 - your comment re. railway tracks doesn't apply if you have decal on the back of the bus telling the public the bus stops at railway tracks - the motorists will understand the reason for the 4-ways at that point.

But when you have a vehicle that states "do not pass when red lights flash" or similar and you activate the 4-ways for purposes other than being a legit hazard in the roadway then you invite people to see the bus as something holding them up from reaching their destination and the obvious thing for them is to go around the bus if they can do so safely. Now lets say the car passes the bus on the left while the bus driver has used them to tell a pedestrian on the right that its safe to cross, chances are good that the driver overtaking the bus isn't going to notice the pedestrian until its too late. After all they were not prohibited from passing the bus since the red overheads weren't used.

4-ways mean the same thing as a slow vehicle symbol to many motorists and nobody likes to be stuck behind a bus or farm tractor. Using the 4-ways in too many situations will eventually lead to an accident and hopefully the result is clear, across the board rulings on appropriate usage of the lighting systems.

My personal opinion on limitations using 4-ways, based on the 4 different jurisdictions where I've held my bus license:

Breakdowns, slow moving on a highway (ie. climbing a hill), railway tracks, when parked at the curb for loading passengers and your parked vehicle is a hazard to motorists around you (ie. a field trip and your parked bus sticks out into the lane next to you) and when doing backing manoevers.

JC

Edited by - JC Theriault on 09/24/2008 11:13:43 PM
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acap03
Senior Member

USA
53 Posts

Posted - 09/25/2008 :  06:50:34 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
JC, I can understand your reasons behind your thought on 4-way use..and I think you present them well.

However, not all buses have "This bus stops at RR crossings" on the bumper or on a plate in the rear of the bus. Most in NC do..but in PA none of the buses in my area of the state did. Just as..we do not have any wording on the bus that states that it is illegal to pass when red lights are flashing,or something similar to that on our buses. Actually I have never driven a bus with any of that hoopla on the rear door. So, my comment about the RR xing still stands..not every bus has something on it to tell motorists that we have to stop at RR Xings. Lets be honest here, there is a lot of things that the general public (non-CDL) just doesn't know about road laws involving other vehicles.

I do completely agree with the whole pedistran thing..why someone would activate the hazards in that situation is beyond me. I am by no means disputing your reasons for using them, as I use them for all of that also..but we (as in not just myself) use them for a few more things that would not be considered improper signaling.

Another large reason we have to use them is for inclement weather..and I think that one gets forgot about often..but it is a matter of safety. Some of our buses do not have strobes on them, and the 2" brake lights are the only running light that light up in the back of the bus, besides of clearance lights of course.

As you said, overuse can definitely be a bad thing and is bound to cause something bad to happen. But using them to communicate with other drivers in accurate situations..well, I dont feel like that needs anymore explaining.

Edited by - acap03 on 09/25/2008 08:14:14 AM
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debi6emort
Active Member

USA
11 Posts

Posted - 09/25/2008 :  07:42:24 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by debi6emort



When should a driver use his/her 4-way hazard lights?

need feedback


THANKS FOR ALL YOUR FEEDBACK and I must agree that Hazard lights are for a reason - to tell others that your vehicle is the HAZARD in the roadway and they only should be used:
  • When involved in an accident
  • Backing: only when necessary
  • Railroad Crossing
  • Travelling less than 45mph on the highway
  • Breakdown
  • When your doubled parked or your bumper is sticking out while unloading or loading in the city like Boston or Providence. [*]
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    98tc2000
    Senior Member

    USA
    97 Posts

    Posted - 10/04/2008 :  5:27:53 PM  Show Profile  Send 98tc2000 a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
    In my district it is required to use the 4 ways when stoping for another buses warning lights

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    rokobus
    New Member

    United States
    3 Posts

    Posted - 10/08/2008 :  07:44:12 AM  Show Profile  Visit rokobus's Homepage  Reply with Quote
    Check your own State Code to be sure. That is the safest answer. SBD's answers are correct in my state of Virginia. Unnecessary use of 4-ways just confuses motorists who already don't pay close attention to us anyway. (Definitely use at railroad crossings regardless of sticker.)
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    nelson480
    Active Member

    United States
    26 Posts

    Posted - 10/29/2008 :  4:46:44 PM  Show Profile  Click to see nelson480's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
    At our district when we are preparing to stop on a highway to pickup students we put on the yellow warning lights and the hazards, just more lights to alert drivers to stop.
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    ICrider
    Senior Member

    United States
    127 Posts

    Posted - 11/04/2008 :  3:25:22 PM  Show Profile  Visit ICrider's Homepage  Click to see ICrider's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
    In our district,we use them on railroad crossings on field trips,not on regular runs though(none in town)and on turnarounds
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    Lifestar Fe
    Top Member

    United States
    521 Posts

    Posted - 11/05/2008 :  7:12:56 PM  Show Profile  Click to see Lifestar Fe's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
    We use them for most of the reasons above (over yellow line, excessively slow etc).
    Last week we had a sub driver who used them like the ambers (the bus was pre-96, so it only had 4-way reds). She is the only driver I have seen do this...she left them on until she turned off the reds though, so I guess it wasn't exactly like ambers. Come to think of it, she also turned on the red lights when you would turn on the ambers...

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