Author Topic: Flashing your lights - rude, or communication?  (Read 9891 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Minmom3

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2431
Re: Flashing your lights - rude, or communication?
« Reply #15 on: January 21, 2013, 11:21:15 AM »
Briefly flashing headlights at the car in front of you to ask them to move over is quite common out in California.  Mostly, people (including myself) DO move over as soon as possible.  Every so often, you get some crazed maniac who flips out and scares the daylights out of the headlight flasher.  I've had that happen once to me, and I can still remember just how scared I was, as the person nearly ran me off the road - in the dark, late at night, well outside city limits.
Mother to children and fuzz butts....

RegionMom

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6240
  • ♪♫ ♫ ♪ ♫ ♪♫ ♪ ♪♪♫ ♪♫ ♪♫
Re: Flashing your lights - rude, or communication?
« Reply #16 on: January 21, 2013, 11:34:42 AM »
had something similar happen to me at night going to a place way out in a hilly country for a quiet weekend getaway.

Two lanes only, one going S and one going N, solid lines because of so many twists in the road, but few cars out, all travelling 70mph.  every so often there would be a straight part of the road with broken lines signifying that you could pass if there were no cars coming the other way. 

Well, I was happily following a small pickup truck, when I was almost blinded by a LONG blast of high white lights.  There was no way for me to get over (narrow shoulder on the right, was going 70, plus was a solid line and a curve in the road--no passing!!

Nothing I could do, so he pulled back and then turned his lights on low and turned on his emergency blinkers. 

was he in trouble?  he pulled back so far that I could not see him anymore, and assumed he was driving slowly. 

then, Bright Lights!!  again!!  Oh, he came back!  Wait, a passing lane is coming up, where for about one mile you have two lanes one way, and one lane the other.  The two lanes were our direction, so I stayed right to allow him to pass.

he did not. 

waht? 

he pulled back and drove again with emergency blinkers.

I went back to enjoying my music and trailing the little pick-up truck.  I still had about 20 miles to go before a turn-off, and it was very dark, unfamilar road, might as well enjoy!

Then, as I see a few cars coming round the bend, I 'felt' something next to me--it was the blinky bright car right. next. to. me.  passing, on a curve, with a solid no passing line, with on-coming traffic. 

I sucked in my breath and pulled right, as did the small pick-up in front of me, plus we both hit our brakes.

fortunately, the car completed the pass with no collisions. 

but, the OP's post made me wonder, and I asked my husband about it yesterday, if there is no legal way or room to pass, even if you signal, what can you do?

his bright lights were blinding--I had to hold my hand over the side door mirror when he turned them up.  And then when he pulled way back and drove with very low lights and emergency flashers--did his 'normal' lights not work ?

Should I have called 311 (non-emergency number) or just eaten the gravel on the narrow shoulder and let him pass? 

OP-
glad you are ok.  I am not in your state, but our crazy drivers may have been heading to a crazy driver reunion to share their terrifying stories!!
Fear is temporary...Regret is forever.

wolfie

  • I don't know what this is so I am putting random words here
  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7080
Re: Flashing your lights - rude, or communication?
« Reply #17 on: January 21, 2013, 11:50:28 AM »
had something similar happen to me at night going to a place way out in a hilly country for a quiet weekend getaway.

Two lanes only, one going S and one going N, solid lines because of so many twists in the road, but few cars out, all travelling 70mph.  every so often there would be a straight part of the road with broken lines signifying that you could pass if there were no cars coming the other way. 

Well, I was happily following a small pickup truck, when I was almost blinded by a LONG blast of high white lights.  There was no way for me to get over (narrow shoulder on the right, was going 70, plus was a solid line and a curve in the road--no passing!!

Nothing I could do, so he pulled back and then turned his lights on low and turned on his emergency blinkers. 

was he in trouble?  he pulled back so far that I could not see him anymore, and assumed he was driving slowly. 

then, Bright Lights!!  again!!  Oh, he came back!  Wait, a passing lane is coming up, where for about one mile you have two lanes one way, and one lane the other.  The two lanes were our direction, so I stayed right to allow him to pass.

he did not. 

waht? 

he pulled back and drove again with emergency blinkers.

I went back to enjoying my music and trailing the little pick-up truck.  I still had about 20 miles to go before a turn-off, and it was very dark, unfamilar road, might as well enjoy!

Then, as I see a few cars coming round the bend, I 'felt' something next to me--it was the blinky bright car right. next. to. me.  passing, on a curve, with a solid no passing line, with on-coming traffic. 

I sucked in my breath and pulled right, as did the small pick-up in front of me, plus we both hit our brakes.

fortunately, the car completed the pass with no collisions. 

but, the OP's post made me wonder, and I asked my husband about it yesterday, if there is no legal way or room to pass, even if you signal, what can you do?

his bright lights were blinding--I had to hold my hand over the side door mirror when he turned them up.  And then when he pulled way back and drove with very low lights and emergency flashers--did his 'normal' lights not work ?

Should I have called 311 (non-emergency number) or just eaten the gravel on the narrow shoulder and let him pass? 

OP-
glad you are ok.  I am not in your state, but our crazy drivers may have been heading to a crazy driver reunion to share their terrifying stories!!

You did nothing wrong, but I would probably have eaten the gravel and let him pass - because I would rather have someone like that ahead of me then behind me. But that is a personal preference type of thing.

bonyk

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 807
Re: Flashing your lights - rude, or communication?
« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2013, 12:05:39 PM »
This post made me realize how bizarre driving practices are where I live.  In my region, flashing your lights is considered rude.  It is preferable to pass on the right, which is probably a violation of our state's laws.  If traffic is too heavy to pass on the right, one should tailgate until the too slow driver moves over.  This is definitely a violation of out state's law, but it's just how it works.  If you are directly behind the too slow driver, and don't want to tailgate, then you should move to the right to allow the person behind you the opportunity.

WillyNilly

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7490
  • Mmmmm, food
    • The World as I Taste It
Re: Flashing your lights - rude, or communication?
« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2013, 12:06:29 PM »
I would definitely consider your DP's light flashing as the initial rudeness, and sign of aggression. While I''ve heard of the practice of flashing to get someone to speed up or move to the right, it's always been considered a rude aggressive unreasonable action, I would also consider a wall of trucks to the right and a car behind me, yes tailgating, flashing his lights at me to be very aggressive and intimidating.

Now the reasonable thing to do of course is not what that driver did. If it were me I would have tapped my brakes, not slamed them, to communicate "back off!" And then I would have continued on until I found a good and safe sized break on the right, and let you pass. Not because your flashing was reasonable or ok, but because i don't want to further enrage aggresive drivers. The driver you encountered let his outrage at your DP's aggressive flashing take over, which is never ok.

otterwoman

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1013
Re: Flashing your lights - rude, or communication?
« Reply #20 on: January 21, 2013, 12:16:08 PM »
Where I am, flashing your lights directly behind someone is very rude, but flashing to let a semi know he's safe to pull over is polite and helpful. We also flash to let oncoming traffice know of a police car coming up, or that their lights are not on/ brights are on.

The slamming on brakes and other insane stuff your guy did is over the top rude and illegal.

CakeBeret

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4261
Re: Flashing your lights - rude, or communication?
« Reply #21 on: January 21, 2013, 12:19:35 PM »
The guy was a real jerk and their is no excuse for his behavior.

To me, flashing your lights is a warning. So I don't think its necessarily inappropriate to flash your lights to warn someone you are behind them in the passing lane. However, if I'm understanding the situation correctly, I think it was a little inconsiderate because of context.

1. From your description you were tailgating (3 car lengths at 55-70 mph), which makes light flashing seem considerably more intimidating2. The guy had a justifiable reason to be in the passing lane ("We came up to a car, right as we passed the last of the semis"), and may have been waiting for a safe opportunity to move over. The light flashing could be interpreted as "hurry up already", like honking because someone won't make a legal right on read and they are slowing you down. It's up to the car changing lanes to determine if its safe, not to some car behind them.

I think flashing in a situation like this is okay, but its best to be as non-aggressive as possible when you do it (giving a little bit of time, and not tail gating). But again, I'd put this in the inconsiderate category more than the rude category.

I know the recommendation we are all taught is a minimum of a 3 sec rule and that 3 car lengths at that speed really wouldn't account for a full 3 seconds.  But I must say in my area, having 3 car lengths between you and the car in front of you would never be considered tailgating. We usually refer to tailgating as not being able to see the front bumper of the car behind you.  The regional differences I learn on this board are fascinating.

Same here. In my area, 3 car lengths is on the far side; many cars travel 1-2 car lengths apart on the highway. If there are 3-5 car lengths between two cars, that's considered an open space that someone else can merge into. Tailgating is less than one car length. I'm in the midwest, for what it's worth.

As to the OP, I don't think a quick flash of headlights is rude. If I were the other car I may not have immediately recognized it as a "Hey, move over so we can pass you" but I would have taken it as a heads-up and begun trying to figure out what the flashing meant.  Around here it can mean that your lights aren't on, there's a speed trap or accident ahead, you're driving like a moron, you need to speed up/slow down/pull over, and so on.
"From a procrastination standpoint, today has been wildly successful."

Jones

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2597
Re: Flashing your lights - rude, or communication?
« Reply #22 on: January 21, 2013, 12:23:12 PM »
I would have considered the light flashing rude too, as there is usually a reason I wait to pull back into the "slower" lane. Also, I can't say I've seen the flashing brights used that way in my region, though I've heard of it, so that could have something to do with my perception.

The other driver had no excuse for his/her actions.

lurkerwisp

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 110
Re: Flashing your lights - rude, or communication?
« Reply #23 on: January 21, 2013, 12:55:56 PM »
Where I am, flashing your lights directly behind someone is very rude, but flashing to let a semi know he's safe to pull over is polite and helpful. We also flash to let oncoming traffice know of a police car coming up, or that their lights are not on/ brights are on.

The slamming on brakes and other insane stuff your guy did is over the top rude and illegal.

Same here.  Just because you(general) want to go faster than the person in front of you doesn't mean it's appropriate to make demands of them.  Flashing your lights is supposed to be for when someone is actually in need of a warning - like they have their headlights off in the dark, or it's safe for a semi to merge.  "Warning: I want to go faster, get out of my way," is not a legitimate one.

Imagine if someone shouted it at you while you both were walking on a sidewalk.  If your reaction is different on foot, then perhaps the reaction in the multi-ton steel box moving so very much faster isn't really appropriate.

Rohanna

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2321
Re: Flashing your lights - rude, or communication?
« Reply #24 on: January 21, 2013, 01:00:24 PM »
We live in moose and deer country- light flashing is very commonly used to warn of large animals on the road- usually several quick flashes in a row. If it's a imminent threat, usually the 4-ways will be thrown on too. No one wants to hit a ton of moose at speed if they can be avoided.
My friends, love is better than anger. Hope is better than fear. Optimism is better than despair. So let us be loving, hopeful and optimistic. And we’ll change the world. ~ Jack Layton.

ettiquit

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1662
Re: Flashing your lights - rude, or communication?
« Reply #25 on: January 21, 2013, 01:10:33 PM »
Flashing lights to let someone know you want to pass them is the norm in my area, and not considered rude.  I'm not sure of a more polite way to do this, since it's illegal to pass on the right.  I'd much rather someone flash their lights at me than get up on my bumper - that I find aggressive and threatening.  I do think it's rude if I'm already going pretty fast in the left lane, but I usually get over anyway.

Life is too short for road rage.

gramma dishes

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8182
Re: Flashing your lights - rude, or communication?
« Reply #26 on: January 21, 2013, 01:23:47 PM »
Sometimes I long for a tank to drive.   ;)

Firecat

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2567
Re: Flashing your lights - rude, or communication?
« Reply #27 on: January 21, 2013, 01:37:23 PM »
Flashing lights to let someone know you want to pass them is the norm in my area, and not considered rude.  I'm not sure of a more polite way to do this, since it's illegal to pass on the right.  I'd much rather someone flash their lights at me than get up on my bumper - that I find aggressive and threatening.  I do think it's rude if I'm already going pretty fast in the left lane, but I usually get over anyway.

Life is too short for road rage.

It's actually legal to pass on the right on multi-lane roads where I am, so no need to flash headlights to indicate a desire to pass. I don't like it when people get right up on my bumper, either; I especially dislike it when road conditions aren't good.

Phoebe

  • Member
  • **
  • Posts: 998
Re: Flashing your lights - rude, or communication?
« Reply #28 on: January 21, 2013, 01:38:02 PM »
I will never flash to tell another vehicle their brights are on.  We bought a new car, standard lights, on our first highway trip we were flashed several times when we didn't have brights on.

The guy must have been high.  Sorry you went through that.

Seriously?  Why would you jump to that conclusion?

Yvaine

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 8929
Re: Flashing your lights - rude, or communication?
« Reply #29 on: January 21, 2013, 01:41:49 PM »
I will never flash to tell another vehicle their brights are on.  We bought a new car, standard lights, on our first highway trip we were flashed several times when we didn't have brights on.

The guy must have been high.  Sorry you went through that.

Seriously?  Why would you jump to that conclusion?

I think it's a joke. Kind of like "This movie made no sense--the director must have been on crack." It doesn't necessarily mean anyone really thinks the director was high on crack. It's just hyperbole.