Author Topic: Flashing your lights - rude, or communication?  (Read 8443 times)

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Dorrie78

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Re: Flashing your lights - rude, or communication?
« Reply #75 on: January 22, 2013, 11:43:24 AM »
Virginia has a law that states that it is unlawful to fail to give way to overtaking traffic in the left lane and specifically notes upon "audible or light signal" the slower car must move to the right lane. Since it is the law, it is simply not rude to flash lights to get someone to move over. At least in Virginia.

In the OP, she should have called 911. The other driver was a menace.



MrTango

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Re: Flashing your lights - rude, or communication?
« Reply #76 on: January 22, 2013, 11:58:54 AM »
Even if it's legal in a given area and even if it's not rude, I don't think it's worth the risk that the person in front of me might somehow be offended and do something incredibly stupid.

Bexx27

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Re: Flashing your lights - rude, or communication?
« Reply #77 on: January 22, 2013, 12:02:39 PM »
Virginia has a law that states that it is unlawful to fail to give way to overtaking traffic in the left lane and specifically notes upon "audible or light signal" the slower car must move to the right lane. Since it is the law, it is simply not rude to flash lights to get someone to move over. At least in Virginia.

In the OP, she should have called 911. The other driver was a menace.

Good to know since I live in VA. I wasn't aware that flashing lights was a signal to move over, but I wouldn't find it aggressive unless accompanied by tailgating. I've only seen people flashing their lights when their intentions are polite, such as allowing another car to merge or go first at a 4-way stop.
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auntmeegs

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Re: Flashing your lights - rude, or communication?
« Reply #78 on: January 22, 2013, 12:17:14 PM »
I don't find it rude at all.  It is the standard means of communication in my neck of the woods (NJ) when someone is going too slow in the left lane and you want to get past them (it is illegal to pass on the right here).

What I DO find really rude is going too slow in the left lane.  Or going below the speedlimit in general if there is only one lane.

oogyda

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Re: Flashing your lights - rude, or communication?
« Reply #79 on: January 22, 2013, 02:19:42 PM »
Virginia has a law that states that it is unlawful to fail to give way to overtaking traffic in the left lane and specifically notes upon "audible or light signal" the slower car must move to the right lane. Since it is the law, it is simply not rude to flash lights to get someone to move over. At least in Virginia.

In the OP, she should have called 911. The other driver was a menace.

Except when overtaking and passing on the right is allowed.  It is allowed on the interstate and multi-lane  highways in VA.
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Dorrie78

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Re: Flashing your lights - rude, or communication?
« Reply #80 on: January 22, 2013, 03:16:33 PM »
Virginia has a law that states that it is unlawful to fail to give way to overtaking traffic in the left lane and specifically notes upon "audible or light signal" the slower car must move to the right lane. Since it is the law, it is simply not rude to flash lights to get someone to move over. At least in Virginia.

In the OP, she should have called 911. The other driver was a menace.

Except when overtaking and passing on the right is allowed.  It is allowed on the interstate and multi-lane  highways in VA.
But it is still not illegal nor considered aggressive driving to flash your lights at someone to get them to move in VA. That is what some people are claiming is true in other states. It is not the case in VA.

WillyNilly

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Re: Flashing your lights - rude, or communication?
« Reply #81 on: January 22, 2013, 03:22:05 PM »
Virginia has a law that states that it is unlawful to fail to give way to overtaking traffic in the left lane and specifically notes upon "audible or light signal" the slower car must move to the right lane. Since it is the law, it is simply not rude to flash lights to get someone to move over. At least in Virginia.

In the OP, she should have called 911. The other driver was a menace.

Except when overtaking and passing on the right is allowed.  It is allowed on the interstate and multi-lane  highways in VA.
But it is still not illegal nor considered aggressive driving to flash your lights at someone to get them to move in VA. That is what some people are claiming is true in other states. It is not the case in VA.

Just because something is legal doesn't mean a person can't legitimately find it aggressive, and rude.  For example its legal in many places to wear shirts or have tattoos with cruel or frightening messages, messages that many people might find aggressive, and rude. As with many things, there is nuance involved and I'm sure sometimes in VA people flash their lights in an aggressive way and some drivers do it in a perfectly acceptable way. Being legal doesn't absolve the aggressiveness.

ScubaGirl

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Re: Flashing your lights - rude, or communication?
« Reply #82 on: January 22, 2013, 03:44:54 PM »
My father taught me about flashed headlights to let in a semi (he learned to drive in New York in the 1960's), and I always thought the quick two-blink "thank you" from their taillights was very cool.  Am in northern New England now, and in our area people flash their headlights / high beams as a universal "go-ahead" gesture to someone (semi, car, bicyclist, pedestrian) at stop signs, crosswalks, lane changes, city, highway, etc.

This, and the other posts that also mention it, surprises me.  I had a semi driver once tell me that he didn't like it when people flashed their brights to indicate he could change lanes.  Besides monentarily blinding him, it is something people do when there is danger (an easy and fast way to signal).  I was taught, and he confirmed, that it is better to turn your lights off and on a few times.

I think that's what they meant. The post you quoted is about flashing headlights, not brights (aka high beams). To me "flashing" in this context means clicking on and off.

In my car I have to turn a dial to turn my lights on and off and I just have to click a lever to flash my high beams, so it would never occur to me to turn my lights on and off - it's too much of a  pain to do easily.

Because it is more of an effort, it communicates to the semi-truck driver that you really do mean to indicate that it is clear for him/her to change lanes. 

Thirty years ago when I was in college I made a road trip with 2 other women.  We were driving in the night and a truck had passed and indicated his desire to change lanes.  I told the driver to turn the headlights off and on a couple times.  She had never heard of doing that before, but she did it.  When the semi-truck driver turned his lights off and on after changing lanes to say 'thank you' she (and the other woman) thought that was just the greatest thing.

Flora Louise

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Re: Flashing your lights - rude, or communication?
« Reply #83 on: January 22, 2013, 03:52:47 PM »
Virginia has a law that states that it is unlawful to fail to give way to overtaking traffic in the left lane and specifically notes upon "audible or light signal" the slower car must move to the right lane. Since it is the law, it is simply not rude to flash lights to get someone to move over. At least in Virginia.

In the OP, she should have called 911. The other driver was a menace.

What if the slower car is doing the limit and the overtaking car is speeding?
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TootsNYC

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Re: Flashing your lights - rude, or communication?
« Reply #84 on: January 22, 2013, 03:53:57 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.

I don't think someone shouting on the sidewalk is a good comparison. Pedestrians generally have a variety of ways to communicate to the people around them, from gestures to speaking up to shouting. People in cars have their options substantially pared down--they have their lights and the horn, and that's about it.

And I've always thought the lights were a polite way to say the same thing you might say with a horn.

So honking is "get out of the way!!" and lights are "could I get by you, please?"

TootsNYC

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Re: Flashing your lights - rude, or communication?
« Reply #85 on: January 22, 2013, 04:10:27 PM »
PA transplant to CO, and I've never heard of this.  I even lived in MO for 2 years and never saw it.  However, if someone came up behind me and did this, the first thing I would do is check my speedometer.  If I was going under, I would understand what it meant and would move over at my earliest convenience (ie when I felt it was safe).  If I was going over, I would ignore it.  I would not find it aggressive until I could not see the person's front bumper in my rearview mirror.

Oh, and just because most people would see someone coming up behind them at a greater rate of speed does not mean they would move over when it was safe to do so.  I have seen many, many, many drivers stay exactly where they are in the left lane (despite it being illegal in many places) while a few cars pass them on the right, then continue to stay there even though there is no one waiting to pass them (I passed them on the right because I got tired of waiting, the car behind me did the same thing, then there is no one else on the road for a mile or so yet they stay in the left lane continuing to go under the speed limit).
A PP said that flashing lights is never OK because it isn't another driver's responsibility to let you know what your responsibilities are....except here, and in many places, flashing lights from oncoming traffic can simply mean there is large game in the road so be careful!

I argue that those who don't move over are the people who aren't going to take kindly to being 'told' to do so by the driver behind flashing at them, as in the OP.


Some people don't move over because they didn't realize someone had come up behind them.

Or, that person came up sort of slowly, and the person in front didn't realize they'd want to go faster.

Dorrie78

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Re: Flashing your lights - rude, or communication?
« Reply #86 on: January 22, 2013, 04:13:11 PM »
Virginia has a law that states that it is unlawful to fail to give way to overtaking traffic in the left lane and specifically notes upon "audible or light signal" the slower car must move to the right lane. Since it is the law, it is simply not rude to flash lights to get someone to move over. At least in Virginia.

In the OP, she should have called 911. The other driver was a menace.

What if the slower car is doing the limit and the overtaking car is speeding?
Well, it doesn't say anything in the specific statute, but I remember reading in the newspaper that it doesn't matter when this law was first introduced years ago. Also, if you drive on interstate 95 or on the Beltway around DC, going the speed limit in the left lane might be one of the most dangerous thing you could do behind the wheel of a car. My daily commute on the Beltway tends to be between 70-75 MPH and that is just keeping pace with the traffic in the right lane. Someone going 55 in the left lane would be tremendously unsafe. I also commute against the traffic, so the lanes are moving at pace.

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Re: Flashing your lights - rude, or communication?
« Reply #87 on: January 22, 2013, 04:26:05 PM »
Virginia has a law that states that it is unlawful to fail to give way to overtaking traffic in the left lane and specifically notes upon "audible or light signal" the slower car must move to the right lane. Since it is the law, it is simply not rude to flash lights to get someone to move over. At least in Virginia.

In the OP, she should have called 911. The other driver was a menace.

What if the slower car is doing the limit and the overtaking car is speeding?

It is not your job to enforce the speed limit by blocking the way. Move over and let them pass.

Twik

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Re: Flashing your lights - rude, or communication?
« Reply #88 on: January 22, 2013, 04:39:52 PM »
I remember back during the Energy Crisis, when 55 was made the limit on highways. A group decided to support saving energy by driving side-by-side on the highway, in all lanes, at exactly 55 mph.

It resulted in some extremely dangerous driving by others, and the group ended up being charged for obstructing traffic. So, blocking speeders is neither safe, nor necessarily legal.
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Flora Louise

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Re: Flashing your lights - rude, or communication?
« Reply #89 on: January 22, 2013, 04:44:10 PM »
Virginia has a law that states that it is unlawful to fail to give way to overtaking traffic in the left lane and specifically notes upon "audible or light signal" the slower car must move to the right lane. Since it is the law, it is simply not rude to flash lights to get someone to move over. At least in Virginia.

In the OP, she should have called 911. The other driver was a menace.

What if the slower car is doing the limit and the overtaking car is speeding?

It is not your job to enforce the speed limit by blocking the way. Move over and let them pass.

But apparently it's your job to put me in my place?
Just because you're disappointed in me doesn't mean I did anything wrong.