Somebody turn on "Blinding Lights" by The Weeknd!

If you've ever wondered if it's illegal to flash your headlights at somebody, so have I. I found myself doing it and wondered what would happen if a cop saw me do it.

Writing a ticket
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So quick story about my commute home recently. I was driving on I-95 South in Philadelphia during the evening rush. A car in front of me turned his right turn signal on, but took forever to get into the right lane.

Trust me when I tell you, it was the car equivalent to a snail's pace - meanwhile, I'm coming up about 60 mph behind him, and this car is only halfway over the line! Taking its sweet time like it's a Sunday afternoon in Georgia. I flash my bright beams at them for a quick second as if to say "Hurry up!" (Hey, at least I didn't honk!)

Cars long lights in rear view mirror
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Okay I'll admit, this was a slightly unpleasant way to use my headlights to communicate to another driver. But of course, there are also more courteous purposes.

  • Alerting a speeding car when there's a cop ahead
  • Allowing someone to merge into your lane or cross the street
  • Alerting a car to turn their car lights on once night falls

But is flashing your headlights illegal?

It's not illegal in Pennsylvania - IF you don't do it dangerously.

Woman Driving at Night
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According to Title 75 in the Statutes of Pennsylvania (75 Pa. C.S.A. Sec. 4306):

"Whenever the driver of a vehicle approaches an oncoming vehicle within 500 feet, the driver shall use the low beam of light."

If you're approaching a vehicle from the rear:

"Whenever the driver of a vehicle approaches another vehicle from the rear within 300 feet, the driver shall use the low beam of light."

But other than that, flashing your lights shouldn't get you a ticket in Pennsylvania, as the section also states:

"Nothing in this section shall limit drivers from flashing high beams at oncoming vehicles as a warning of roadway emergencies or other dangerous or hazardous conditions ahead."

Bottom line is - just don't blind anybody.


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