Have you ever being driving along minding your own business when cars approaching you flash their headlight in warning of police speed cameras?
Are you one of those drivers who flash other motorists to warn them of a police speed check?
The Highway Code Rule 110 states. Flashing headlights. 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.
There is no mention of flashing you headlights to warn other motorists of the presence of police speed cameras, so why do we do it? We are unlikely to know the driver of the car flashing us, or which we are flashing, and the police car only stop those cars exceeding the speed limit. By flashing our headlights we are effectively warning speeding motorists to slow down. Do we really want speeding motorists to escape apprehension? Is it because we also regularly exceed the speed limit and we feel some affiliation with those exceeding the speed limit?
Few of us would shout or otherwise warn any criminal that the police are around the next bend and they will probably be caught and yet warning motorists that they risk being apprehended for speeding seems not only socially acceptable, but almost a duty.
Drive towards and through a police speed checkpoint without having been flashed or stopped and you can carry on driving without any obligation to the drivers of vehicles approaching from the other direction. But if you are flashed a warning and reduce your speed accordingly you feel a sense of gratitude to the unknown driver who flashed you. It’s clearly not practical to turn around catch them up and thank them, so what do you do with that small sense of obligation? You pass it on by flashing the drivers of cars approaching the speed check from the other direction and this little package of obligation bounces back and forth between motorists.
I’m not going to claim that I have never exceeded the speed limit or flashed a warning to other motorists, but next time you are flashed consider the implications of warning a speeding motorists and whether that is actually the right course of action.