To flash or not to flash?

A motorist has been prosecuted after warning several approaching cars of a mobile speed camera.  He was convicted and fined £175 and ordered to pay £250 costs for wilfully obstructing a police officer in the execution of his duty after he flashed his lights to warn motorists there was a speed trap.   Inspector Martin Bishop, Lancashire Constabulary’s road policing inspector, said the practice was an “obstruction” to officers.

According to a recent poll, almost half of UK motorists admit flashing their lights to warn other motorists of a mobile speed camera.  Flashing appears to be an accepted form of communication between motorists.  Approximately one third of motorists use their lights to inform other drivers that they are giving way to them, whilst about another third use them to thank a motorist for giving way. Less than 10 per cent of motorists said that they don’t flash at all.

Almost half of motorists think that the Highway Code should contain a standardised code of what ‘flashes’ mean. The fact that nearly as many people use their lights to thank another motorist, as those who use them to invite another motorist to come through, suggests that there could be confusion as to what message people are trying to get across.

According to the CPS, motorists who use their lights in an unacceptable manner could be prosecuted for ‘Careless or inconsiderate driving’.  A person drives carelessly or inconsiderately when the way they drive falls below the minimum acceptable standard expected of a competent and careful driver.  The CPS lists the following as examples of inconsiderate driving:

  • flashing lights to force other motorists to give way;
  • dazzling other motorists with un-dipped headlights;
  • unnecessarily staying in an overtaking lane;
  • unnecessarily slow driving or braking.

So, think before you flash your vehicle’s lights!!

Dyne Solicitors Limited – 01829 773100,

For advice on any transport law issues, please contact Jared Dunbar at Dyne Solicitors on 01829 773 100.

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