Flashing While Driving: Now Legal!

February 7th, 2014

speed trap

There’s big, big news in the world of cars today. It’s not often that a piece of news or legislation or automotive awesomeness comes along that completely lights up my days and nights.

When it happens, though, it needs to be acknowledged and celebrated.

The news I discovered yesterday has not only caused me to rest easier while driving, it will save me (and you) money while adding another level of protection and camaraderie on the streets of these great United States.

What could have such a big influence on the state of driving?

The answer, as briefly as possible, is:

Flashing our lights.

I live in an incredibly rural area and routinely drive home at night with my brights glaring, carving through the black night and leading the way home. I often forget they are on, and approaching cars routinely flash their lights to remind me to tone it down.

But that’s not the kind of flashing I’m talking about. That kind has never been questioned and remains legal, as far as I know, in states everywhere. There’s another kind of flashing, though:

Speed-trap warnings.

I’ve been on both ends of this. When I’m cruising along a country road or highway and an approaching car flashes headlights at me, I can assume one of two things:

  1. I’ve left my brights on (again).
  2. There’s a cop waiting just around the next bend.

This little trick has very likely saved me at least one ticket, and I’ve taken great pride in assisting others with the same little flick of friendship.

Until, that is, I heard that I could get pulled over for helping out my fellow motorists. Since then, when I see a police car on the side of the road, I desperately want to flash oncoming traffic and silently but quickly say, “Hey there, new friend, you might want to consider slowing down, as a dangerous and expensive trap lies just around the next corner.”

The threat of getting pulled over because of my act of kindness has stopped me from my duty of protecting others. Well, today is the day I stop living in fear!

The Huffington Post said,

A federal judge in St. Louis, Mo. has ruled that it’s within drivers’ rights to¬†flash headlights as a signal to other motorists¬†that speed traps lie ahead.

I’m not in Missouri, but the ruling has set a precedent allowing me to comfortably be on the lookout for my local motoring friends, because doing so is a protected First Amendment right. Let’s all look out for one another!

Should it be illegal to flash headlights at another motorist to warn of a speed trap?

-tgriffith

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