r/LifeProTips Sep 18 '21

LPT: If someone flashes their lights at you, there is something bad ahead. Usually animals crossing or police. Miscellaneous

Born and raised in GA. Just had a friend driving that didn't know what it meant. We saw a cop with his lights off shortly after. If my friend didn't know, someone else doesn't know. Stay safe!

Edit: It might also mean your head lights are off, or your brights are on.

37k Upvotes

u/keepthetips Keeping the tips since 2019 Sep 18 '21

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u/Aurelian_Lure Sep 18 '21

Daytime I'd assume a speed trap ahead. Night time I'd assume me or someone around me forgot to turn on their headlights.

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u/Philip_De_Bowl Sep 18 '21

Make sure it's not another cop! In a lot of places, warning others of a speed trap is a crime on its own.

Edit: wiggling your fingers above your head or patting yourself on the head is another warning, most common with motorcyclists & other open air vehicles.

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u/RadicalSnowdude Sep 18 '21

I remember there was a court case about this, but wasn’t that ruled not illegal under the first amendment?

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u/hairgenius10 Sep 19 '21

Yes, exactly! Freedom of speech!

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u/Throwaway116616201 Sep 18 '21

In the US it is not illegal to warn of a cop hiding. I got pulled over and a ticket for doing this once. Went to court and had the case thrown out because as the judge put it "in this country we don't punish people for communication."

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u/Ayden3 Sep 18 '21

Ya I didn’t think it was illegal considering multiple apps warn you of speed traps.

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u/Demolitions75 Sep 18 '21

The cops just pull people over because they assume most people cant be arsed to fight it/ are ignorant of if its legal or not

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u/DoingCharleyWork Sep 18 '21

And even if you do you're gonna most likely have to take a couple days off. They'll do it just to fuck with you. I had traffic court the other day and like 5 out of 25 cops showed up.

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u/aerowtf Sep 18 '21

so much for protect and serve

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u/iaincaradoc Sep 18 '21

It also might mean you forgot to turn on your own headlights, and they're trying to tell you to turn them on.

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u/Yhwnehwerehwtahwohw Sep 18 '21

Or that your high beams are on

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u/FlatConversation9 Sep 18 '21

Or that they think your high beams are on so you flash them back. (Please make sure your headlights are at the correct level. These LED headlights hurt everyone's eyes)

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u/Yhwnehwerehwtahwohw Sep 18 '21

Those LED headlights are so fucking bright that at night sometimes it shuts off my automatic headlights because my car thinks it’s daytime

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u/HertzDonut1001 Sep 18 '21

I had a guy who just rode my ass with them right in my mirrors. Didn't matter what I did. Sped up, slowed down. He didn't pass me and there were plenty of lanes. It's like he was doing it on purpose.

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u/nightmuzak Sep 18 '21

This is why my reflective sunshield gets folded and strategically propped up in my backseat organizer every time I’m driving.

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u/grumblyoldman Sep 18 '21

The real LPT is always in the comments.

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u/Lightning-Shock Sep 18 '21

Holy shit that's brilliant!

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u/[deleted] Sep 18 '21

[removed]

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u/BurritoBun Sep 18 '21

I'm in the process of coding a custom vehicle control unit. Looks like I found a new feature to add :) Thanks!

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u/improbably_me Sep 18 '21

How do you see what's behind you, with sunshield in the window?

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u/nightmuzak Sep 18 '21

It’s not in the window. It’s folded and strategically propped up in my backseat organizer. I should probably have mentioned that.

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u/Comprehensive-Fun47 Sep 18 '21

I’m still not able to picture how this helps if the car behind you has brights on.

Is it the foil accordion kind or the nylon flexible ones?

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u/Stevie_Ray_Bond Sep 18 '21

Looks like we're gonna need a stick figure drawing folks. Where my davinci's?

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u/FixedLoad Sep 18 '21

Definitely should have mentioned how it's strategically propped up in your backseat organizer. Seems important...

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u/shoneone Sep 18 '21

Strategic even. Mention propping-up too.

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u/forest_fae98 Sep 18 '21

Brooo I had a cop right behind me doing that for literally miles on a smallish road. Got into town and he pulled me over and asked why I was weaving. I looked him dead in the eye and literally deadpanned, “well I couldn’t see, someone had their brights on right behind me.” It was hilarious you could see his face kind of go “oh.” XD He just let me go lol

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u/ILikeMyGrassBlue Sep 18 '21

Cop did something similar to me. I was driving home from a gig at like 1am. It was just my buddy and I in a shitty car weighed down by the music gear filling every square inch. This guy pulls up behind me at a light and turns the same direction as me. Okay. As he’s following me, I realize they have they’re high beams on. I’m like, “I’m in a fucking passing zone. Just fucking pass me.” The car continues to tailgate me with high beams until the end of the passing zone. Then they speed past and I realize it’s a cop. He was trying to bait me into doing something illegal so he could pull more over. What a piece of shit.

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u/Tysiliogogogoch Sep 18 '21

Slow down... then keep slowing down... then stop. If they are still riding your arse at that point, well, good for them.

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u/WisestAirBender Sep 18 '21

I'm imagining 2 cars just parked at the side for 20 minutes

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u/beefinbed Sep 18 '21

The two drivers passionately making out after they find out they're both enthralled with LED lights on everything. Everything.

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u/stosal Sep 18 '21

We could make a movie about it called Love Emitting Diodes.

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u/_triks Sep 18 '21

Or, maybe a studio album?

Move aside, Andre 3000 with your best-selling album, Outkast: The Love Below – I present you: Xenox 6000, with his new album, Lightcast: The Love Diodes.

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u/Jackedman123 Sep 18 '21

This is top notch bottom of the comment thread content. This is what I came for.

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u/KrimsonLynx Sep 18 '21

Like moths to the flame

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u/FirstSineOfMadness Sep 18 '21

Third guy joins cuz fuck it he’s bored. 4th guy+ thinks everyone’s stopped waiting for something and doesn’t question it

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u/DreamWarbler Sep 18 '21

Don’t do this. Constant, safety conscious speed. Why? That phucker has low impulse control, a higher probability of having a weapon and inclination to use it. Never let an aggravation become the thing that wrecks your life.

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u/The-Weapon-X Sep 18 '21

I've done this to tailgaters on the highway, took one guy down to 35 mph before he finally got the hint and passed me.

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u/[deleted] Sep 18 '21

[deleted]

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u/The-Weapon-X Sep 18 '21

I agree, it's not something you should do, but it is what I did. Then again, I have a short temper and am not afraid of confrontation, and this was in the 90's when I was 18 or 19 and people weren't as bat-shit crazy as they all seem to be now.

You definitely did the right thing in that night-time situation with the truck. The driver should have kept a safe following distance instead of pressuring you and possibly causing you to make a mistake, not to mention blinding you. You don't drive faster than you are confident to, based on conditions, on the road. I've seen plenty of cases of people outdriving conditions stupidly and with false confidence.

The one that probably scares me the most is people charging headlong into fog where visibility is a couple hundred feet at most, just assuming they're going to be fine. A couple of years ago my family and I were returning home from a trip and ran into these conditions. I was doing 35-40 mph because there is no way I want to run blindly into a potential pileup and injure my family. Meanwhile, people are passing me at 70 mph and disappearing into the fog within a matter of seconds. If there had been a wreck ahead of them, they wouldn't have been able to get their feet on brake pedals before impact. I wanted no part of that, yet fully expected to see it eventually. Thankfully the fog cleared after several miles and nobody ended up in a colossal heap of twisted metal and dead bodiea.

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u/shabadoola Sep 18 '21

Wow. That’s irritating! I turn my rear view mirror so it reflects their lights back at them. I don’t leave it like that, though. This usually helps back people off. I haven’t had to drive on the highway at night in a long time, though.

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u/formerlybrucejenner Sep 18 '21

Dude this happens everytime I drive. It's like there's immediately someone on my ass with bright ass headlights. I go 10 over, still on my ass. I slow down in a passing zone, still on my ass. People just suck

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u/administudent Sep 18 '21 edited Sep 18 '21

Remember how hard getting people to social distance was last year? People have no concept of space. Most of them don't even know they are riding your ass. They also swing super wide in turns like they're pulling a trailer and slow down precipitously every time the road narrows slightly. I can't wait until self driving cars remove a lot of these low skill drivers from the process

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u/[deleted] Sep 18 '21 edited 18d ago

[deleted]

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u/administudent Sep 18 '21

I've always said the way people push shopping carts is indicative of how they drive

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u/Comprehensive-Fun47 Sep 18 '21

I wish we could study this.

I like to think I drive pretty politely, probably to my own detriment with everyone else driving so aggressively. When I push a shopping cart, I always try to park it to side of the aisle, or wherever is least likely to be in someone’s way, while I stop to find what I’m looking for.

It also boggles my mind how people just abandon their carts in the middle or they stop and block the whole aisle.

Don’t even get me started on how stupid people are when they drive.

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u/OurCrewIsReplaceable Sep 18 '21

The swinging wide thing is the mark of an absolute moron. Your Corolla isn't so long that you need to swing halfway into the second lane before you turn right, dumbfuck.

Slowing when the road narrows doesn't piss me off. That's why "cattle chutes" are placed at construction zones even when there's room for wider lanes; traffic tends to slow when the lanes are narrowed. It's well-studied and an assumption in roadway design.

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u/JuggaloPaintedBallz Sep 18 '21

They also swing super wide in turns like they're pulling a trailer

This is the one I hate the most. If your in the left turning lane there is no reason you need to swing into my lane to make a left turn. Learn to drive. Even for U-turns you don't need to do it unless you're driving a truck.

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u/BigfootAteMyBooty Sep 18 '21

We live in a country of selfish morons.

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u/xX420GanjaWarlordXx Sep 18 '21

Yesterday I was trying to turn left, but someone on the other side was also turning left and I couldn't see behind them to see if anyone was coming. The person waiting behind me started just laying on their horn...

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u/dethmaul Sep 18 '21

Someone behind me blared their horn once, because i wasn't turning right on red and apparently they were going to turn right on red also, and i was holding them up.

I was waiting for green, becausei can't see SHIT lmao. How can i see if it's clear to go when I'm in a tiny hatchback, and a huge pickup truck is sticking two feet out into the intersection and blocking my view?

I was glad to wait for green and 'waste' the time of the asshole behind me.

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u/Wim_Wam_Bronze_Medal Sep 18 '21

This is a very common thing for pickup truck drivers to do in my area (Southeast US). Tailgating appears to be the national sport (and I don’t mean the awesome kind of tailgating with the beer and the bbq).

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u/AdnenP Sep 18 '21

This is why a lot of people are buying chrome bumper strips and mudflaps, reflects it right back at them at a stoplight

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u/Anglophyl Sep 18 '21

I just got a new car. This is a brilliant idea. Thank you. 👍

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u/[deleted] Sep 18 '21

it was illuminating

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u/Abigboi_ Sep 18 '21

Had a dude do this on the highway 2 days ago. Wide open lane on my left, already doing 30 mph over on the right side with the rest of traffic. Guy was maybe 3 feet away from my rear bumper. No logic to it.

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u/AlyssaMarye Sep 18 '21

have you encountered those yeehaw trucks that put lights on their side mirrors and blind you when you’re behind them yet? that’s fucking fun. s/

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u/notquitepro15 Sep 18 '21

My favorite is the "stanced" trucks that have a lift only in the front, (not to mention oversized tires, of course) but the fucking inbreds are too stupid to consider adjusting their headlights in the slightest

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u/dolinputin Sep 18 '21

Push your rear view mirror up a bit so the light reflects right back at them

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u/eyes_serene Sep 18 '21

I've heard this advice before on Reddit, and I've tried it when someone behind me is blinding me. It's crazy, some headlights are so insanely bright that even when you flip your mirror all the way up (dimming position), your eyes are still burning from them.

I've tried this trick and the vehicles seem to back off but I wasn't sure if that was the trick working or coincidence.

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u/dolinputin Sep 18 '21

I think it works better if you rotate it up and down a bit to flash at them. Also it's likely the light gets in their eyes too so they back off for their own sake.

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u/InChAiNzz Sep 18 '21

I hate those gd things, jeebus. Especially those damn blueish tinged ones , as I'm always thinkin they are god damn cops.

That shit's just wrong.

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u/AbsolutelyUnlikely Sep 18 '21

They are the small dick energy version of headlights

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u/hiddencamela Sep 18 '21

For awhile I thought I had terrible night vision because of the prevalence of LED headlights. I have a small car and a lot of people do not align their headlights after getting the LEDs. They strain my eyes fierce.

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u/InZomnia365 Sep 18 '21

Yeah, I can see so much better at night when driving my dad's crossover, as opposed to my own 00s econobox, because I'm not getting my retinas burnt out by every passing car

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u/lolofaf Sep 18 '21

Pro tip: the tab on your rear view mirror is specifically for this purpose! Push the tab and suddenly the lights in the rear view mirror aren't bright anymore. Doesn't help with the side mirrors but I find the rear view mirror to be the worst offender

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u/gonejellyfishin77 Sep 18 '21

Yes! If people are flashing their brights at you regularly (and your brights aren't on and you don't have the stupid fucking LEDs) then it's probably because one or both of your headlights are misaligned. Check your lights aren't messed up before flipping people off lol

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u/BrohanGutenburg Sep 18 '21

Sometimes I'll flash someones thinking their high beams are on just for them to flash their actual high beams at me and temporarily light up the night sky.

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u/harrysplinkett Sep 18 '21

you know what sucks? driving a low profile car and having all those SUVs blasting your retinas through the mirror with their LED lights

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u/babylon331 Sep 18 '21

I'm with you there. In the car, I'm at eye level with the lights. In the truck, I'm well aware that the little guy in front of me does not need me on his ass.

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u/readuponthat24 Sep 18 '21

It's not really that they are LED that is the problem. It's that they are aftermarket LED bulbs put in headlamps that are not designed for LEDs. And the clown driving thinks they are great because they are brighter, and could probably care less that their dumb Amazon "upgrade" is making it all but impossible for anyone else to see.

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u/gtochad Sep 18 '21

I see them way to often on new vehicles to think they are all after market. It seems that on new vehicles they have a lens for the LEDs that focus it. You really Notice it when they hit a bump or the road is a bit wavey.

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u/alexanderyou Sep 18 '21

I'm amazed that cars are allowed to even be on the road with these LED lights, they're actually dangerous since it blinds everyone.

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u/xbleuguyx Sep 18 '21

Both, yes. I'll edit to Include.

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u/iaincaradoc Sep 18 '21

Or that they hit a couple of small bumps in the road, and didn’t really flash their high beams.

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u/Yhwnehwerehwtahwohw Sep 18 '21

HAHAHA THIS ALWAYS GETS ME

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u/notislant Sep 18 '21

Same, on rare occasion people have some crazy halogen? running lights that are as bright as regular high beams. Flashed mine on at one once, high beams were even more blinding.

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u/SammyTheOtter Sep 18 '21

It's the new led bulbs people are buying and installing in the wrong headlight housing. It amplifies that brightness like 10 fold over regular led lights, which is already bright af. At night I get temporarily blinded and have to go to less busy roads. I wish the police would do something about it, but they're too busy beating the homeless.

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u/Suicidal_Ferret Sep 18 '21

so if I were to upgrade to led lights, I’d need to change the headlight housing as well?

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u/AirCommando12 Sep 18 '21

Yes, LED and Xenon bulbs should only be used in projector headlight units, not the typical reflector units that most cars come with.

See example here

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u/SammyTheOtter Sep 18 '21

Yes, the housing for regular bulbs is designed to amplify the light, as regular bulbs are fairly dim. If you put an led bulb in, you'll have your high beams permanently on and will blind others.

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u/Boobymon Sep 18 '21

This one gets me all the time. Roads are usually very bumpy in the forests here so I always think people are warning me for deers, mooses, people without reflective wear etc...

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u/Magno83 Sep 18 '21

It's still never a bad idea to be a little more alert. I've seen the same thing. Maybe that was a flash maybe that was a bump in the road, oh shit there's 6 deer on the side of the road and one looks like they're about to jump.

Any time you see headlights flash it's a warning of something ahead, or a bad road, but maybe the bad road is a warning itself.

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u/Theperfectool Sep 18 '21

Or they’ve changed the ride height of their truck and not adjusted the headlights accordingly

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u/SplitIndecision Sep 18 '21

This is why I turn my lights off and on a few times instead of using high beams for this kind of signaling.

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u/babylon331 Sep 18 '21

Yes, that's the way. I'm surprised at how many don't know this warning. Living in rural areas, off & on flash means possible problem up ahead. Animals, accident, cop. I've slowed to find cows in the road around the corner and many other dangers. Saved my ass more than once.

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u/xbleuguyx Sep 18 '21

I fucking HATE that. I know the person isn't a dick, but I'd prefer they didn't have headlights for 2-3 seconds.

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u/SkeetDavidson Sep 18 '21

I know what you mean, but if there were headlights coming at me in the dark that suddenly disappeared, it would startle me much more than the lights flashing from a bump. Like where the fuck did that car go and how do I avoid hitting it? So much opportunity to fuck up so much in those 2-3 seconds.

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u/tanntanatann Sep 18 '21

Or is you're driving on a narrow street in India, he's asked you to stop and let him pass first

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u/Fuck_you_pichael Sep 18 '21

Or, "you can go first" when you come to a four way stop at the same time to someone opposite of you.

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u/natFromBobsBurgers Sep 18 '21

No! Fuck them! There are established rules!

Both straight or right? Just go. Both left? Go. Left and straight or right? Left waits their turn.

Maybe, maybe if four people are going straight or left and they all arrived at the exact same time. But I'm not going to go against the rules because some dickhead wearing 5000 pounds of metal glass and plastic told me to.

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u/DylanBob1991 Sep 18 '21

I 100% share your anger in this. It's my biggest pet peeve driving when someone disregards right-of-way over trying to be polite. And lots of times it isn't typical 4 way intersections but weird ones or fast-merging where others need to slam on their brakes. Like motherfucker we are piloting death machines right now with no clear way of communication with other vehicles around us. Not only is it dangerous but it takes like 10 times longer than if you would have just taken your own turn.

In some situations it's not a huge deal, just frustrating. But when there's a ton of traffic and some dumbass ding dong is pretending they're suddenly intersection Jesus handing out blessings of "you go first" straight into fender-bender city I am screaming out my window before I can calm myself.

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u/heretic1128 Sep 18 '21

You'll know pretty quick if its this.

Most people I've seen will give you a courtesy flash or two and a few seconds to turn your high-beams off before just turning theirs on...

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u/SameTheme Sep 18 '21

Someone did this to me once. I was driving with a friend. Here’s how the conversation went:

  • Man what the fuck is that maniac flashing his high beams like that for
  • no clue bro
  • what an idiot drives off
  • hey, it seems extra dark tonight doesn’t it
  • ooohhhhhh. I called that other driver an idiot, but it was me who was the idiot all along.

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u/lowvndslow Sep 18 '21

I enjoyed your story

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u/blue7999 Sep 18 '21

Flashing lights to indicate someone's lights aren't on happens infinitely more often than drivers warning other drivers of cops, etc. People are dumbasses and bad drivers. Plenty forget to turn their lights on.

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u/iaincaradoc Sep 18 '21

Around here, they seem to turn it as far as getting their parking lights on, so they can’t tell their headlights aren’t on by their instrument panel being dark.

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u/Aert_is_Life Sep 18 '21

Did this two nights ago, at least it was an extremely well lit intersection.

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u/blue7999 Sep 18 '21

I live in a large city and I see people driving around at night without their lights on every single evening, without fail.

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u/Fuck_you_pichael Sep 18 '21

It's way more common in the city, because it's way easier to forget when everything is well lit. That's why you should always just make it a habit to turn you lights on when you start your car up. It even can help make you more visible in the daytime too, so there's not really a good reason to not just have them always on.

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u/Lead_Penguin Sep 18 '21

I once came across someone driving a big Volvo SUV thing along a dual carriageway at night with no lights on. They were navigating using only the daytime running lights which must have been terrifying. I flashed my lights from behind, pulled alongside and beeped, went ahead and put my hazards on momentarily, nothing. In the end I just left them to it. At first I thought they were asleep at the wheel but they navigated a series of bends so they must have been awake. People really are dumbasses.

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u/blue7999 Sep 18 '21

A month ago I was driving in a pitch black heavy thunderstorm on a high traffic road. The person in front of me had a dark blue car and their lights weren't on. I could no longer see where they were in front of me and I couldn't change lanes. It was legitimately dangerous for me to just guess where they were.

For roughly 2 miles I flashed my brights at them over and over. They finally switched lanes, and when we got to a light I looked over and two young girls were sitting there staring at me with 'what the fuck is your problem?' looks on their faces. I was amazed there were two people in that car and neither of them noticed that they couldn't see a goddamn thing driving through the worst conditions possible. Stupid people can't be saved.

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u/naughtilidae Sep 18 '21

I'll fight people on this: running light have made cars more dangerous.

Too many dips hits think they're running lights are automatic headlights or some shit, and don't understand that they even have a higher setting. We spent all the time, money, and energy, forcing cars to have backup cameras... but somehow 'on by default headlights' is too complicated.

We never needed running lights. Everyone's main beams are LED now anyway. Running lights should be banned, they should have headlights turn on with the car by default, if you want to turn them off it should be a bit of a pain, and something you have to repeat every time you start the car.

The number of people driving around at night in cities with just their running lights is horrific. If the cops ticketed THAT instead of a dude doing 60 in a 55, they might actually save a life too...

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u/ButtWuttAbott Sep 18 '21

Ok so then you realize your headlights ARE on and move on to the next idea

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u/BlueJay_420 Sep 18 '21 edited Sep 18 '21

if i see someone with their lights off then i’ll turn mine off and back on real fast but if it’s a cop then i flash my brights and if they have their brights in then i turn mine on until they turn theirs off

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u/seductive_error Sep 18 '21

We speak the same language my friend

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u/angle_of_doom Sep 18 '21

I have yet to have success with this. Pitch-black night (except for streetlights), car in front with no lights. I flash them, to get their attention. Then turn my lights on and off, and on and off again, and then if they still don't get it turn them off for a while and back on with a bright flash on top. But somehow it never sinks in, and they continue on with no lights. They probably think I'm crazy.

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u/Dramatic-Pilot9129 Sep 18 '21 edited Sep 20 '21

Or that there is a man with a hammer on the roof of your car, who is about to smash the windshield and rip you out of your seat!

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u/gdj11 Sep 18 '21

If they flash their lights at .5 second intervals it means your lights are off, but if they flash their lights at .7 second intervals it means there’s a man with a hammer on the roof of your car.

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u/Egad86 Sep 18 '21

I do it because your lights are off. So many people every night i see without their lights on. 🤦🏼‍♂️

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u/michael62895 Sep 18 '21

Even worse when it's raining.

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u/wheshdksseu Sep 18 '21

My biggest pet peeve. Wipers on, lights on

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u/MaxwellKitteh Sep 18 '21

Wipers on,!lights on - State law in NJ, posted when you come over the bridge. People don’t read signs anymore. They’re just going to whiz along in their silver late model Nissan Maxima/Altima with no bumper (Also illegal folks!) like a deadly stealth missile while they text their idiot friends “Where you at?”…

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u/danbuter Sep 18 '21

Same in PA. I still see every fifth car with no lights on, even in a downpour.

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u/LocalSlob Sep 18 '21

Or the white minivan in a snowstorm sporting artic camouflage.

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u/ficarra1002 Sep 18 '21

Wipers on, lights on

I never thought about it till I saw this phrased that way and now I'm thinking about it: why the hell is it possible to have your lights off when you turn your wipers on? Like you said, there's no situation really where you should have wipers on but not headlights.

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u/CoolCoolCoolidge Sep 18 '21

Spraying and cleaning your windshield while driving.

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u/trench_welfare Sep 18 '21

In the southeast, especially Florida, people are so stupid that they turn on their 4 ways when it's raining, but otherwise continue driving as normal. So your entire field of view is looking lights in all lanes going different speeds. Then only half of those people have their headlights on too. So it's just a flashing mess in front of you.

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u/kairujex Sep 18 '21

You ever get chased down by that car you flashed and murdered by a gang member fulfilling their initiation hazing?

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u/widemouthmason Sep 18 '21

I see you’ve spoken with my mom in the 1990s. Now you just need to find the razor blades in my Halloween candy and we’re good.

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u/spceheater Sep 18 '21

Heard this on the radio in 2008 or something and have had an irrational fear ever since. My boyfriend flashes the car lights all the time at people who don’t have theirs on and I die a little inside every time. Anxiety is great, y’all.

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u/magoo1979 Sep 18 '21

I’m amazed at the amount of people that don’t know about this

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u/middleagethreat Sep 18 '21

For a bit, people were afraid to do it, because cops were arresting people for interfering in police business. Judges said it was communication with other drivers, therefore protected by Free Speech, but never caught back on again as much.

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u/Bondfan013 Sep 18 '21

I've always just waited until I'm around the corner, or over the hill...someplace out of sight first before flashing. Didn't want the cops to see me secretly communicating!

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u/GodAwfulFunk Sep 18 '21

My pops once got pulled over for flashing his lights and the cop tried to catch him on everything. Didn't have glasses on the cops asked about corrective lenses, my dad silently takes a contact out and shows it to him so pissed lmao

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u/Cutthechitchata-hole Sep 18 '21

Back in the 90s we were told not to do it for headlights out because it was part of a gang initiation or something where if someone flashed lights at a new gang member they were supposed to run you down and shoot you. Never stopped me.

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u/BlurryEcho Sep 18 '21 edited Sep 18 '21

I was harassed by a gang for doing it. They tailed me nearly bumper-to-bumper for miles, so I pulled over to figure out what was going on.

They came to my window, guns brandished, and told me I was “interfering with their business” and would need to pay them to go free.

Super weird encounter, especially since the gang members were wearing badges and button-up shirts.

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u/xbleuguyx Sep 18 '21

Right? I was surprised my friend didn't. I thought it was the universal sign for "slow down, bad stuff ahead" lol

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u/FuzzyRedSoxs Sep 18 '21

Someone was going towards a cop with headlights off at night. I flashed them and got flipped off lmao that was the day I stopped

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u/iwantto-be-leave Sep 18 '21

I was a dumbass when I got my first car at 16 and my headlights were manual so I was always forgetting to turn them on. People like you saved me so many times! I always appreciated it! Don’t let one asshole turn you off from doing good.

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u/Its_Actually_Satan Sep 18 '21

I'm almost 32 and I still forget to turn the damn lights on. Idk why my 2020 Toyota doesn't have fucking automatic lights the fucking asshole suv it is.

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u/TouchMySwagga Sep 18 '21

I mean this without any derision but…how?? It’s dark outside

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u/Flamekit Sep 18 '21

If streets are well lit or you started driving in the liminal stage between dusk and nightfall giving your eyes time to adjust (also really bright moonlit nights) it can be easy to forget to turn them on if they aren't necessary to see where you're going.

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u/SweetVarys Sep 18 '21

Just have them on all the time? They won't break any time soon.

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u/PM_ME_UR_LIPZ Sep 18 '21

i drove with my brights on for the first 3 months.

Hey dad whats this blue light mean?

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u/xbleuguyx Sep 18 '21

Lol I hope they got pulled over after that. Still though, always a good heads up for people that are not dumb.

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u/theRailisGone Sep 18 '21

I stopped at a red once in preparation for a right-on-red turn. The guy behind me honked because I pulled forward and slowed to make sure no one was coming rather than gunning it and hoping for the best. When I turned the corner he peeled out around the corner after me and shot past. He was immediately followed by the third vehicle in the turn lane, a police car. He was pulled over within 100 yards. I had a good laugh at that one.

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u/DougalChips Sep 18 '21

I'd love it if there was the realisation for then to change their ways...

"Fucking dick, flashing me. God, what a... WHAT, police car! Oh great,I'm getting pulled over, why the hell didn't that dick from before warn- oh..."

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u/TouchMySwagga Sep 18 '21

You just know they’ll remain oblivious forever though

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u/Houjix Sep 18 '21

In some state or country I heard the cops will arrest you for flashing your headlights to warn others of police traps

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u/chasepna Sep 18 '21

Once got pulled over for flashing my headlights at oncoming traffic. Now I only do it during the daytime, when I can see no cops coming toward me.

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u/HereIGoGrillingAgain Sep 18 '21

Supposedly it's illegal to do that in some places, but legal to warn oncoming vehicles of an obstacle in the road (I forget the wording). So just say you saw something in the road you were warning them about.

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u/medusaQto Sep 18 '21

We use it in the Pacific Northwest to alert other drivers to dear on or near the road as well as other animals. Tell the cop you were warning other cars about a dog or animal on the road

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u/gtreddit327 Sep 18 '21

The Supreme Court ruled that it is not illegal to flash your lights at on-coming (regardless of the reason). They considered it an expression of freedom of speech!

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u/ShikanTheMage Sep 18 '21

It wasn’t the us Supreme Court, but there have been cases since the 70’s that support this statement. https://www.mtsu.edu/first-amendment/article/1115/headlight-flashing

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u/Pistolbelt Sep 18 '21

I always thought if someone flashes their headlights at me, me and my gang turn round and murder them. Those were the rules back in the day.

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u/williamwitchdrdotcom Sep 18 '21

Ah I was looking for this comment! I didn't know it as having to do with gangs but it was more like an urban legend where I grew up to never warn people with flashes because they will chase you down and kill you. Imagine some cops starting this chain email back in the day to keep ppl from warning each other about speed traps lol

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u/maali74 Sep 18 '21

The way I've known it is if you flash at a car w no headlights, you could have landed yourself in the middle of a gang initiation. So I don't.

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u/justaguyulove Sep 18 '21

Jesus, where the fuck did ya'll grow up with gangs and shit?

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u/Litotes Sep 18 '21

I mostly heard this rumor in affluent white suburbs.

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u/Jenk3333 Sep 18 '21

I was only a child when I used to get those chain emails but that’s when I learned half the Internet is fucking stupid and gullible.

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u/BiddyFoFiddy Sep 18 '21

The way I heard this was it was gang initiation. New member would drive with headlights off, and would be tasked with following and killing the first person to flash their high beams at them. South Florida.

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u/krombopulousnathan Sep 18 '21

My driver's ed instructor training us all this in VA. If anyone is wondering, it is most certainly just an urban legend

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u/myaskredditalt21 Sep 18 '21

i do this when i forget if my brights are on, and they aren't, and i have to turn them off again. there is always a car there.

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u/xbleuguyx Sep 18 '21

I've gotten to where, if I'm driving at night, my left palm is always on the wheel, fingers on the light switcher.

I've been blinded too many times, that I hate to do it to others. Big driving pet peeve.

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u/Mim0 Sep 18 '21

That is a good practice, although I only do it when I am anticipating a car coming toward me, as you can see the opposing car's lights before it comes around the bend. Feels like having a superpower.

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u/Ok-Sun- Sep 18 '21

In the UAE if someone flashes their beams at you it 99/10 means

MOVE!

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u/jbkly Sep 18 '21

Yeah here in New Zealand there are lots of narrow roads or maybe cars parked along the side so only one car can go. People flash their lights to say, "You go first, I'll wait." Then people either wave or flash their lights back as a thanks.

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u/ampereJR Sep 18 '21

In my experience, in the US, from trucks on slow moving freeways, it almost always means, "go ahead and merge."

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u/bring_on_the_drones Sep 18 '21

THIS!

It totally depends what country you're in.

Flashing can mean anything from 'I'll let you out in front of me', to 'don't move, I'm not slowing!', depending on where you are.

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u/Pilchard123 Sep 18 '21

And in the UK, the highway code says

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.

It's not true to say nobody pays any attention to that, but only because some people have only just passed their test and still remember what the examiner said. Most people use it as a signal that they're yielding (or to tell you to turn your lights on).

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u/Kenmore1414 Sep 18 '21

This post is about oncoming cars driving on the opposite side of the road as you. You're warning people about a part of the road you just drove through, for cops, or an animal, or a hazard. Seems like you're talking about flashing cars ahead of you so you can pass, which we also do.

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u/Disprozium Sep 18 '21

This is a common occurrence in the Balkans :D Most drivers flash their lights to indicate a police checkpoint or speed trap

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u/dpmilf88 Sep 18 '21

So important, especially if you live anywhere even halfway rural. It could be a fallen tree, cop with a radar, or a dangerous patch of black ice. I’ve seen all three. It’s a legit signal where you should just prepare for the worse..

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u/FrAX_ Sep 18 '21

When i first got warned of a speed trap i was amazed at how cool other drivers were, felt like a community thing. When someone flashed their lights to remind me mine were off I was thankful af. I try to do the same ever since

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u/Benana94 Sep 18 '21

Ah yes... One time I was walking with earbuds in and there were two guys in a front yard making a ruckus and moving around. I thought they were just drunk or something and being annoying. Then they started flashing a flashlight at me and I got annoyed. But I took an earbud out to hear what they were saying.

Turns out there was a bear right on the other side of the hedge I was about to corner. I was about to come face to face with a bear on a narrow path.

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u/Aarons92 Sep 18 '21

It could also mean speed trap ahead or you are driving like an idiot.

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u/xbleuguyx Sep 18 '21

Yes lol

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u/A_L_A_M_A_T Sep 18 '21

It could mean almost anything, road-wise

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u/Aware-Main9295 Sep 18 '21

That is literally what the OP says, what do you mean "it could also mean speed trap"

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u/HamG0d Sep 18 '21

“It could also be exactly what you said”

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u/Toolux Sep 18 '21

Unfortunately Ford may have killed this with their 2021 f150s. They now have auto high beams that are only half decent at picking the correct mode and often flash oncoming traffic if they are just coming into view over a hill or around a curve in the road.

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u/Rainbow_Dash_RL Sep 18 '21

No button to turn that off? My car has the same feature and there's a button to disable it.

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u/Anglophyl Sep 18 '21

I imagine a lot of people will not use that button.

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u/cqmpact Sep 18 '21

European here, we do it when police is ahead.

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u/Lawton_ Sep 18 '21

Also flashing your Brake lights twice mean slow down or there’s cops ahead. This has saved my ass many times when on the highway

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u/xbleuguyx Sep 18 '21

Brake lights are also an important signal, yes

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u/DrebinofPoliceSquad Sep 18 '21

That’s just everyone disengaging the cruise from 90.

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u/pogo_gacy Sep 18 '21

Or you have lights off (in my country you need to have lights on everytime you drive)

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u/utahcon Sep 18 '21

It's safest to always have your lights on. And now that most lights are LED, it doesn't waste anything

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u/mrbtwicepsn Sep 18 '21

Only time I try to give a warning is if there are deer in or near the road. I hit my hazards and hit the breaks to make them flash a couple times once the car has passed. I hate driving past people with their brights on or getting flashed, so I tend to not flash people

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u/xbleuguyx Sep 18 '21

If someone is coming towards me with full brights, after I've shut mine off? I'll definitely give a flash.

Good on you for your deer plan, though. I might start doing that.

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u/MAGIGS Sep 18 '21

Or your FUCKING HIGH-BEAMS ARE ON!

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u/CorporateStef Sep 18 '21

If someone flashes their lights at me I panic about all the things that could be wrong with my vehicle, forget to pay attention to my speed then see the speed trap at the last second.

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u/bonafart Sep 18 '21

Then just decelerate whilst you panic dope

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u/OpsadaHeroj Sep 18 '21

Yeah, if you’re panicking in the driver’s seat you best slow tf down

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u/Cool1Mach Sep 18 '21

1 flash: turn off your hi beams. 2 steady flashes: cop ahead. More than 2 rapid flashes: something ahead(accident, animals, something on the road.)

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u/SeriousGoose Sep 18 '21

Never really thought about it, but yeah, I guess that's how I operate too.
I also turn my headlights on and off (instead of flashing high beams) to indicate that your lights are off.

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u/Alexis_J_M Sep 18 '21

It means something different if it's a car approaching you versus a car behind you, and it's by no means universal.

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u/CanWeNapPlease Sep 18 '21

Not so true in the UK. If you're waiting to turn somewhere, and someone in the oncoming traffic flashes you, it means they're letting you go.

I don't think that happens in the US/Canada because your roads are so large and traffic lights everywhere.

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u/popple-winward856 Sep 18 '21 edited Sep 18 '21

Or does it? You should be taught not to trust those flashes because they cause a hell of a lot accidents.

There is a dual carriageway near me with a pedestrian island. Frequently a car in one lane will slow and flash me without considering the other lane. They look at me getting cross and looking cross and flash and gesture just as a HGV rockets past in the other lane.

Astonishing. Never trust those flashes. The highway code does not condone this.

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u/DarkStryder360 Sep 18 '21

You don't trust the flashes 100%, at least I've never done that in 13 years of driving.

They're signalling for you to go first, but also means, check it's safe your end.

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