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Using hazard lights in rain is illegal in some states; use could cost you

We've all been there: The rain is pouring down in sheets, you're white-knuckle holding the steering wheel of your car and the person in front of you suddenly turns on their yellow, blinking hazard lights, as if to say, "Here I am!"

But here's the thing: It's illegal in some states to have your hazard lights on while you're driving, and the ticket could cost you more than $100 in some counties.

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Sgt. Mark Wysocky, Florida Highway Patrol spokesman, said people may think they're helping others, but hazard lights can be misleading if used improperly.

metro Atlanta police department recently warned its residents that using hazard lights while you're driving may incorrectly signal to other motorists that you're stopped or otherwise traveling much slower than other traffic.

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"They may think they're doing everybody a favor, but in reality they're creating confusion," Wysocky said, explaining that in some cars, the bulbs for hazard lights may be the same as the one for your brake lights or turn signals. "People may think you're stopped in the roadway."

Plus, hazard lights "turn off your ability to use your turn signals," one Georgia police department wrote in a January Facebook post.

So what should you do when the rain starts pouring down? Wysocky advises motorists turn on their headlights and windshield wipers and pay close attention to their surroundings. 

Here is a list of each state's rules regarding driving with hazard lights, according to AAA

Alabama: The use of hazard lights is permitted while driving unless otherwise posted.

Alaska: The use of hazard lights is not permitted while driving.

Arizona: Hazard light use is not permitted while driving except in an emergency situation.

Arkansas: Hazard light usage is not permitted while driving except to indicate a traffic hazard.

California: Hazard light use is not permitted while driving except to indicate a traffic hazard.

Connecticut: Hazard light use is permitted while driving unless otherwise posted.

Delaware: Hazard light use is not permitted while driving except to indicate a traffic hazard.

District of Columbia: Hazard light use is permitted while driving.

Florida: The use of hazard lights is not permitted while driving.

Georgia: The use of hazard lights is permitted while driving.

Hawaii: Hazard light use is not permitted while driving.

Idaho: Hazard light use is not permitted while driving except to indicate the presence of a vehicular traffic hazard requiring unusual care in approaching, overtaking or passing.

Illinois: The use of hazard lights is not permitted while driving.

Indiana: Hazard light use is not permitted while driving except in emergency situations.

Iowa: The use of hazard lights are not permitted while driving except to indicate a traffic hazard.

Kansas: Hazard light use is not permitted while driving.

Kentucky: Hazard light use is permitted while driving.

Louisiana: Hazard light use is not permitted while driving.

Maine: Hazard light use is not permitted while driving unless to indicate a traffic hazard.

Maryland: Hazard light use is not permitted while driving except in emergency situations.

Massachusetts: Hazard light use is not permitted while driving.

Michigan: Hazard light use is permitted while driving.

Minnesota: Hazard lights are not permitted while driving except to indicate a traffic hazard.

Mississippi: Hazard light usage is permitted while driving.

Missouri: Hazard light usage is permitted while driving.

Montana: Hazard lights are not permitted while driving except to indicate a traffic hazard.

Nebraska: Hazard light use is permitted while driving.

Nevada: Hazard light usage is not permitted while driving.

New Hampshire: Hazard light use is permitted while driving.

New Jersey: The use of hazard lights is permitted while driving.

New Mexico: Hazard light use is not permitted while driving.

New York: Hazard light use is permitted while driving unless otherwise posted.

North Carolina: Hazard light use is permitted while driving unless otherwise posted.

North Dakota: Hazard light use is permitted while driving unless otherwise posted.

Ohio: Hazard light use is not permitted while driving except when a hazardous condition is present.

Oklahoma: Hazard light use is not permitted while driving except in emergency situations and to indicate a traffic hazard.

Oregon: Hazard light use is permitted while driving unless otherwise posted.

Pennsylvania: Hazard light use is permitted while driving.

Rhode Island: Hazard light use is not permitted while driving.

South Carolina: Hazard lights may be used while driving for the purpose of warning the operators of other vehicles of the presence of a vehicular traffic hazard requiring the exercise of unusual care in approaching, overtaking or passing.

South Dakota: Hazard light use is permitted while driving.

Tennessee: Hazard light use is not permitted while driving except in emergency situations.

Texas: Hazard light use is permitted while driving.

Utah: Hazard light use is permitted while driving.

Vermont: Hazard light use is permitted while driving.

Virginia: Hazard light use is not permitted while driving except for emergency vehicles, stopped or slowed vehicles to indicate a traffic hazard, when traveling as part of a funeral procession, or traveling slower than 30 mph.

Washington: Hazard light use is not permitted while driving except to indicate a traffic hazard.

West Virginia: Hazard lights are not permitted while driving except in emergency situations.

Wisconsin: Hazard lights are not permitted while driving except to indicate a traffic hazard or when a hazardous condition is present.

Wyoming: Hazard light use is permitted while driving.

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