Do Hazard Lights Drain Battery? Expert Insights and Recommendations!

Hi, I'm Luis Johnson, an automobile technician, and power equipment professional. By profession, I'm a businessman and operate a car workshop. I have created this...Read more

It is imperative that your hazard lights work seamlessly and last for as long as required. However, compared to other significant lights, such as headlights or rear lights, these are smaller and seem as though they consume less power from the battery.

This could make you ask, do hazard lights drain battery?  Yes, hazard lights will drain car batteries. Just like other electrical components in your car, the hazard lights need power to operate. As long as the engine isn’t running, the battery supplies the power, and it ultimately drains the battery.

Even so, how much energy they use, as well as how quickly the battery will be drained, may vary depending on different factors. Rest assured; this article will explain everything you might have in your mind.

Why Do The Hazard Lights Drain The Battery?

Are you wondering why hazard lights drain batteries? It might seem like a silly question for some people, yet it’s logical to be curious. This is because many people underestimate their size and role.

In reality, these tiny lights are fueled by a great deal of electricity. Technically, when your hazard lights are activated, all the turn signal lights of your vehicle illuminate at the same time. This puts an undesirable burden on the vehicle’s electrical system.

Do Hazard Lights Drain Battery

It becomes more severe when the vehicle isn’t running. As you might know, your battery isn’t getting charged unless it’s running. So, when you leave your car idling with hazard lights turned on, especially for too long, your battery will be dead after a certain period of time.

In addition, some older vehicles might not have a setting for an automatic shutdown of the hazard lights after a set period of time. In such cars, battery drainage is more common.

Can Hazard Lights Damage Battery If Turned On for Too Long?

A million-dollar question: Will hazard lights damage your battery if they are turned on for too long?  Yes, keeping your hazard lights on while the engine is not running will leave the battery of your car damaged over time.

Leaving your hazard lights on for less than one hour, then cranking your engine, and driving for 30 minutes is unlikely to hurt your battery.

However, doing so for longer than four or five hours is likely sufficient to cause a significant loss of battery health. This is because your battery has just undergone a deep discharge. But, the degree to which your battery will be damaged depends on the state of its health.

How Hazard Lights Damage Car Battery?

Modern lead-acid car batteries are more likely to die because of their delicate design. Especially, discharging a car battery by 50% or below can significantly impact its lifespan.

Deep cycle marine or golf cart batteries are composed of thicker plates and different grid patterns intended to undergo numerous deep discharges and can be repeatedly recharged (up to 3000 discharge/charge cycles).

However, a car battery will only allow its user to take about 10-25 complete deep discharges. So, there is a risk of your car battery giving up completely when it exceeds that deep discharge limit.

If you start up a car battery with a bad state-of-charge condition, that charge will go down and down below 75. Once sulfation starts to set in, a white crystalline buildup called lead sulfate builds up on the outside of the lead plates within the battery.

This coating prevents them from accepting a charge and limits the burst in voltage that occurs when your vehicle is started.

How Long Can You Leave Hazard Lights On Before The Battery Dies?

As we said, it depends primarily on a lot of factors. So, there’s no specific quantity. Commonly, the duration varies between overnight and an hour or even shorter depending on the type of vehicle and the battery’s charge level.

With LED lights on in newer cars, warning lights should be able to run for many hours before shutting down the battery completely. Let’s explain the fact with a basic calculation.

Calculating Time

First, we’re referring to typical incandescent bulbs. A blinker bulb has a wattage of at most 21 watts, and most cars have four bulbs.  In your scenario, the battery has completed a 50% duty cycle because of blinking, which equals 3.5amps.

At present, a 70 AH battery is standard on most cars. So, if your car has this type of battery, you’ll get approximately-

70AH/ 3 amps = 23 hours before your car’s battery discharge warning turn on.

In the case of modern LED lights (5 watts) can be precisely up to 84 hours at the absolute best or 42 hours on average. This is a massive number, and you might not expect it. However, that’s what the calculation shows.

Obviously, if you’re driving an older car whose battery is drained or otherwise beyond repair, the time will likely be shorter, even as little as an hour. The same can happen if you have a cheap aftermarket battery that’s near the end of its life on your car.

Tips on Preserving the Battery Life Even While Keeping Hazard Lights Turned On

As you already know, keeping your hazard lights turned on continuously can drain and even damage the battery. Luckily, a few simple tricks can preserve your battery in this situation. For this, you can follow the tips mentioned below:

Use LED Lights

If your vehicle has incandescent turn signals, replace these with LED light bulbs. They’re streamlined and draw less power as they don’t waste energy in the form of what. Still, they emit sufficient light while extending the automobile battery’s life.

Use LED Lights

Make Sure other Electrical Components Are Turned Off

Sometimes, in addition to the hazard lighting remaining on, you may forget to turn off additional accessories such as interior dome lights, headlights, and so forth. If this happens, it leads to extra overall electrical power consumption in your car.

As a result, your battery will be quickly and heavily drained. So, make certain all the components not essential to running are switched off.

Use A Battery Tender and Keep the Battery Topped Up

Using a battery tender can be a useful trick to keep your battery stay topped as much as possible. Lead acid batteries, in contrast to lithium-ion, need to be full in order to endure. When they’re only partially charged, they start to deteriorate more quickly.

Use A Battery Tender and Keep the Battery Topped Up

An appropriate battery tender scans the electrical fitness of the battery in just a few seconds and automatically switches to a specifically safe float charge rating without inflicting any damage to it.

In fact, a good quality battery tender, in many cases, prolongs the battery’s shelf life by up to 50 percent.

Car Hazard Lights – When You Should Use Them and When Not?

Hazard signals are designed to be used in specific conditions. However, many people are not aware of this fact and tend to keep hazard lights turned on unnecessarily. This eventually depletes the battery. So, if you’re one of them, read this section carefully.

Car Hazard Lights

When Hazard Lights Should be used:

Employing your hazard lights in the correct scenarios can minimize your danger of being involved in a serious accident.

If you know when it’s advisable to make use of the hazard lights in your car, it will express you as a responsible motorist.

You Have Undergone an Accident

If you’re involved in an accident, this is the ideal time to turn on. Before you exit your car to assess the area where the accident took place or to verify damage to your automobile, turn on your hazard lights to point other drivers to an emergency.

Advise the other driver to also turn on their hazard lights if they still have not done so. Using your hazard lights will also help emergency personnel assess the situation.

Your Car is Parked On the Side of the Road

It’s common to have a sudden malfunction in your car that urges you to park the vehicle on the side of the road.

However, the roadway is rarely populated by pedestrians, making changing a tire or discovering a suitable location to deal with a malfunction or breakdown nerve-wracking.

In this situation, turning on your hazard lights to signal your predicament will let other drivers know you are in need of help without giving them the unnecessary alarm of pulling back into oncoming traffic.

You’re Taking Part in A Funeral Procession

Funeral processions can be sorrowful events that mourners find important to the healing process. Funeral procession participants are required by law to turn on hazard lights to make themselves noticeable.

Whilst other drivers should permit funeral processions to travel, they should not try to merge into their line of traffic. Funeral processions also typically travel at a slower rate than the general traffic.

When You Need to Pull Over?

If you are signaled to pull over to the side of the road by a police officer, you are to turn on your hazard lights to stop on the road in a safe enough area.

However, not all lanes have a safe space to stop a vehicle, though. If a police officer is indicating that you should pull over and you do not have someplace to pull over safely, you can turn on your hazard lights to indicate that you saw him.

When You’re Driving in Dense Fog?

This is one of the most ideal situations to turn your hazard lights on. If there is extremely dense fog on the road, it becomes too difficult to recognize other vehicles.

While turning the headlight on is the first advice, hazard lights add an extra layer of safety during such situations. These blinking lights more efficiently alert other drivers.

When Hazard Lights Should not be used:

The purpose of hazard lights is to provide awareness in case of crisis. Do not activate your hazard lights if there are no urgent circumstances that require them. You should refrain from turning hazard lights on without an emergency, even if you saw several drivers do so previously.

In Heavy Traffic

Drivers must actively take control of the road at all times. Whenever their eyes are on the road, they must be able to scan intersections, street signs, and traffic conditions effortlessly.

To be cautious and realize the traffic accidents, there is no need to turn on warning signals since it is not an emergency and can simply be seen with your eyes. Moreover, this can make other drivers confused.

During Heavy Rain

When there’s heavy rain, you see less of what’s going forward and have experienced difficulty seeing the windshield and even your own hands. You might think that adding extra lights to this situation would be a good idea, but it is not.

When it’s raining outside, the light’s reflection off the raindrops produces a large amount of glare and makes it harder to see.

While Parking Illegally

Generally, you ought to resist the temptation to park your car illegally. You have the choice to do so anyhow, but you should refrain from using hazard lights. Your hazards are designed to warn other drivers of impending danger.

Besides, parking in a space that’s marked as reserved for handicapped individuals is indiscriminate parking. Turning on your hazards does not allow you to continue to illegally park, and you may be cited for your conduct.

Frequently Asked Questions

We’re mere searchers at heart. Since our knowledge of the universe is boundless, there is a limit to our collective thirst for new facts. So, we’ve organized an FAQ section just so you would have more specific information.

Do Hazard Lights Stay On When The Car Is Off?

A hazard light may remain turned on if the car’s hazard switch is in the on position or if an onboard electrical problem is noted.

Are There Any Alternatives For Hazard Lights?

Depending on the circumstances, other alternatives to hazard lights can be used. However, using these alternatives may have specific regulations by law. Make sure that you are apprised of and comply with the relevant laws in the area of your residence.

Is It Illegal To Use Your Hazard Lights In The Rain?

Very few states have specific laws that enable you to use hazard lights when in motion, regardless of the weather conditions. If you’re residing in Hawaii, New Mexico, Louisiana, Nevada, or Rhode Island, it is unlawful to do so when driving.

Final Words

Do hazard lights drain battery? The answer might be clear to you at this point. We have tried to put together all the information you need to prevent your car’s battery from dying of your stupid negligence.

Whatever the choice you make, do not leave those lights lying around for a few hours. Do not even keep any electrical components running while the car is off.

As a bonus tip, consult with your local authorities to find out whether there is any regulation to using hazard lights in your area. Hazard lights are not only intimately related to your safety but also your battery.

Hi, I'm Luis Johnson, an automobile technician, and power equipment professional. By profession, I'm a businessman and operate a car workshop. I have created this site Batteryquery to help people purchase the right battery for their vehicles. The reason behind creating this site is to help my customers purchase the right car battery who often purchase the wrong one due to their lack of knowledge.

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