Using hazard warning lights to warn other drivers is a fineable offence

Using hazard warning lights to warn other drivers is a fineable offence
Using hazard warning lights to warn other drivers is a fineable offence. image: guardia civil

Using hazard warning lights to warn other drivers is a fineable offence

The regulations laid out by the General Directorate of Traffic (DGT) are not always as straightforward as we all think. An example of this is a driver who was recently fined for using his hazard warning lights to warn traffic behind him.

I am pretty sure we are all guilty of having done this at some point. When there is a sudden build-up of traffic in front of you, or if we are in any sort of situation where you know that warning the drivers behind will probably save you the problem of having one of them drive into the back of you. The initial instinct has always been to hit the hazard warning lights switch.

Be warned, this is a fineable offence according to the DGT. The man who got the fine was reminded of Article number 109, section 1.c, of the General Traffic Regulations. It states that if a vehicle comes to a sudden stop, or speed is significantly reduced, other drivers should be warned by repeatedly using the brake lights, or waving the arm up and down.


These are your only two options within the law of the road in Spain. No hazard warning lights! As for the penalty, it can be anything from €80 to €200. This higher fine can apparently be imposed in the event of you being seen to not give any warning at all to other drivers.

However, the DGT has clarified that the use of brake lights is an option, since the aforementioned article clarifies that it is “whenever possible”. For this reason, it is likely that, if the driver complains, he will be able to avoid paying the fine.

The regulation in question does establish a time when the emergency lights can be activated: It says that they can be turned on if “immobilisation occurs on a highway, or in places or circumstances that significantly reduce visibility”, as reported by


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Chris was born in a small village in Wales, where he ran his own successful construction company for many years, before deciding in 1990, to swap the grey skies and rain for the sunshine and lifestyle of the Costa del Sol. Late last year he made the move to Southern Portugal, and is now residing on the Algarve. Having sung and played in a rock band back in Wales, he still likes to go out and entertain in his spare time, singing in restaurants and golf clubs. Interests are of course music, especially from the 60s and 70s, movies, nice restaurants, and he has a passion for graphic design and online marketing.


  1. This is the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard!!!
    Surely repeatedly putting your brake lights on and waving your arm up and down is a major distraction for you the driver and could cause an accident in itself?!!
    I wonder why we bother to have hazard warning lights if we’re going to be fined for using them?
    Common DGT get your act together!

  2. I have been a driver now for 60y since 18y and this has to be the first time that a law like this, no hazard lights, has been mentioned. Personally I think the driver in front has a duty of care to inform other drivers that he/she has a problem in front and must slow down or stop generally due to cyclists who very often cause long tail backs. Now under the new rules it’s even more difficult to pass cyclists on two way roads and keep within the law. What about the UK holiday makers in their UK cars? how can they wave their left hand as a warning. In modern car pressing the breaking pedal will apply abs breaking.


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