Why Do People Keep Flashing Their Lights??

We’d like to cover a relatively common phenomenon we all encounter on one side or the other. Under certain circumstances, someone may flash their lights or high beams at you, or you may be moved to flash your lights at another driver.

First up, and we’ll repeat this again later, never ever pull over for someone behind you flashing their lights. Too many drivers  women in particular – have found themselves in very bad situations pulling over for phony police officers. True law enforcement officers will have recognizable red or blue strobe lights, and if you have any doubts at all about even these, find a very public place to pull aside.

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In the meantime, why would another driver flash their lights and high beams at in your direction? Well, there could be several reasons.

High Beam On IndicatorFirst, and a particular pet peeve of mine, they may be approaching with their high beams on! This is dangerous and is blinding to on coming traffic and traffic in front of you travelling in your direction. Please check your that your high beams are not active while in traffic.

Second, they may be signally a speed trap ahead. And thank you very much.

Third, someone behind you may want an opportunity to pass or simply be expressing displeasure with your driving — too slow or too aggressive. I’ll admit to having been on both sides of this one.

Finally, someone may be attempting to alert you to an issue with your car — your lights may be out  like BOTH of these cars! Or something may be hanging from the car and about to fall off. Most commonly in our experience, is either lights that are out or not turned on when seen from behind. And a recent incident like this is what prompted this video.

I came across a car on the interstate that appeared to have no lights at all. I turned my lights off and back on a couple of times, but there was no obvious reaction from the other driver. As I passed the car, however, the car actually had its headlights on! This is hardly the first time we’ve seen this.

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Tail Light Out Indicator SymbolNow, if this were my car, a lack of tail lights would result in a series of warnings on my instrument panel, and annoying enough to demand attention. This is simply not the case with all vehicles and its possible that a full tail light failure may also result in a warning light failure.

Tail lights out are a serious safety issue, for the occupants of the car without the lights and for approaching drivers. And likely as not, there have been multiple light flashings.

So, if someone is flashing their lights at you, do check that your headlights are on. If they are, well first, no matter what, do NOT pull over.

But, when you get home or someplace safe, do check that all your tail lights are working. The brake lights too. If there’s no one to help out, a department store window in your rear view mirror can be helpful. The tail lights, brake lights, and turn signal lights can all be checked without having to get in and out of the car several times.

If you’re curious for a visual of all this, we did a video of flashing lights and light-less cars, below.

That’s it for now, and please, safe travels.

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