Using your headlights to flash a fellow motorist and warn them of something coming up on the road ahead - often a police vehicle or mobile speed camera – is something many would think nothing of doing. In fact, this is commonly seen as good manners to help prevent a fellow road user from copping a speeding ticket.
However, many drivers are unaware that doing this is a breach of the Highway Code and could land you in trouble having committed a criminal offence with the punishment of facing a £1000 fine. Under Highway Code rule 110 it states: “Only flash your headlights to let other road users know that you are there.”
“Do not flash your headlights to convey any other message or intimidate other road users.”
Flashing your headlights to warn other motorists breached Highway Code rules 110 and 111, but won’t result in a criminal conviction, but can be used as evidence is court. However, if you warn another driver about a mobile speed camera you can be in breach of section 89 of the Police Act (1997). This can result in a criminal conviction and a maximum fine of £1000 if you are found to be trying to “wilfully obstruct a constable in the execution of his/her duty.”
Is the headlight warning flash really worth the risk? Many motorists will be struggling to understand how attempting to prevent a criminal offence now becomes a criminal offence. Punishing with a hefty maximum fine for what is commonly seen as a goodwill gesture weakens the argument that speed cameras were designed to slow down drivers and improve road safety. Instead, it strengthens the idea that they are instead a cash cow.
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