#942 Somebody flashing their high beams at you to warn you about the cops

Tired and groggy, you’re driving home late at night, whipping down the side streets and back paths to get home a bit faster, your eyelids drooping, your body achy and sore. Occasionally, there are headlights in the opposite direction, blurry, whiz-by streaks of bright white — shift workers, truck drivers, and party animals all owning the lonely roads, trying to get somewhere quick.

Then suddenly an approaching car flashes their high beams at you. Blinded, you sit up, awake and alert, checking all your mirrors, slowing the car down. What’s going on, you think, until a few seconds later you pass a cop car with its lights off, sitting on the side of the road waiting to catch a speeder, a patient and silent predator waiting for its prey.

“Thank you,” you whisper under your breath, as you drive by under the speed limit. “Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

* * *

Isn’t it also great that the flasher going the opposite direction really can’t ever get the favor returned? I mean, you don’t know him or her, him or her don’t know you. They just sort of threw the favor out there, a warm passing smile on a dark drive home, with no payback required or expected. No, you might never see each other again, but it’s just The Late-Night Driver’s Pact, a rebellious fight-tha-police stance that helps everyone out in the pocketbook a bit.

So you smile as you drive on, and when you see another car heading the opposite direction, you know what to do.

Flash them high beams, sister. Flash them bright and light up the night.

AWESOME!

Photo from: here

54 Comments

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54 responses to “#942 Somebody flashing their high beams at you to warn you about the cops

  1. That IS awesome. I get a particular joy when I get to be the ‘flasher’ also…kinda like proud that I can thumb one at the man..

  2. jdurley

    Ha ha! This just happened to me on the way to work this morning. (I was the recipient of the flash.) Of course, during daylight, it works better to do the ON / OFF flash. I also do the flash, but not in school zones. You speed in a school zone, you’re on your own, Chester.

  3. Here’s another awesome idea for avoiding tickets: Don’t drive so fast. It’s not a competition, and no points are being awarded

    • matt

      Here’s another awesome idea: You’re on a highway that’s, for all intents and purposes, empty. You’re tired, it’s late at night, and life’s too short to fear edging over the limit, toeing the line, sneaking cookies when nobody’s looking.

      Sure, you’d never get hired if you told the place you’re applying at you sneaked (snucked?) cookies from the cookie jar, but there’s the catch. Nobody’s that stuffy.

    • hzgii

      While everyone here likes to stick it to the man, you like to suck the man’s dick. Why?

      Driving fast gets you somewhere faster and it’s more fun to do. Of course your speed needs to be based on the situation. You must limit your own speed to be able to control the car. If you can’t do that you shouldn’t be on the road anyway, because sometimes (rarely, but still) the speed limit is higher than what the situation allows.

      The speed limits are just an extortion thing.

  4. JK

    This manoeuvre is specifically outlawed under Irish law.
    For a time, a second cop car was deployed to catch the “flasher”.

  5. If was better in the old days when my car did not have DRL’s. I could flash the lights by cutting them off and on instead of using the high beams, thereby blinding the oncoming driver temporarily. This also works well to warn oncoming traffic of potential road hazards like that downed tree or pedestrians.

  6. Denise

    Coming home late one morning, I flashed an on-coming car. Felt great about it, until a cop pulled me over. I denied flashing the car but it turned out I had flashed the cop! No ticket, but I got long boring lecture. I am still a flasher and have been the lucky “flashee” of many of my flashing cohorts.

  7. Joe

    For a long time, I embraced the driver’s code of flashing, but have since come to realize that if my flashee doesn’t get snagged, then the next driver will. It isn’t my business to meddle in the wheelings of the universe in this way – to have a hand in deciding who gets caught and who slips by. I do like the idea of shielding my fellow motorists from revenue-hungry law enforcement, but in this case, I leave it to a higher office.

  8. Ohh, Mark, such a good citizen!
    Of course, Mark doesn’t realize that if it’s late at night, nobody is around, there is no chance of kids walking across the street, then the speed limit is sort of silly. If it says go 45, going 55 is not going to hurt anyone, except yourself possibly. But hey, the police need their money.

  9. Tom,

    What about the person who walks home from the pub late at night rather than drive while under the influence? Or a friend of mine that walks for hours at night to wear himself out enough to counter his back injury pain so he can sleep?

    Also, roads are designed with an upper speed limit (I’m an engineer who used to work for various road authorities) so disobeying those limits can have tragic consequences. Drivers don’t just ‘hurt’ themselves; there’s the emergency services personnel who are left to clean up the mess, the hospital staff who deal with the trauma, the families and friends who are left to either care for someone unable to care for themselves or arrange funerals and colleagues and employers who have to find new staff…the list just goes on and on and on.

    If I were speeding I’d rather learn the lesson by copping a hefty fine and losing points on my licence than running into a tree and ending up in a wheelchair.

  10. Why would you warn someone that is taking a liberty with your safety?

    From the original post: “Tired and groggy, you’re driving home late at night, whipping down the side streets and back paths to get home a bit faster, your eyelids drooping, your body achy and sore.”

    Doesn’t this sound like someone that is going too fast and is going to fall asleep and hit someone, and in what is probably a residential neighbourhood as well?

    Sorry, I’ve investigated too many fatal collisions to sympathize here.

  11. I use to do it to tell them to take off their high beams because they always blind me.

  12. james

    very awesome indeed, dont listen to the naysayers.

  13. not required

    If only the bankrupt cities would stop hiring police as a solution to their money woes. Speed limits == Revenue generation.

    There are plenty of laws on the books to handle the people driving dangerously, picking an arbitrary number that pays no attention to the mechanical condition of the car, weather, lighting, and other factors is ridiculous.

    Next these naysayers will say that speed cameras are for peoples safety also.

    BTW don’t blame the cops, blame the chief and mayor!

  14. Christy

    About a year ago, the police were wanting to stop flashers in our area. The courts got involved and deemed that flashing is good karma and as long as it isn’t overly distracting to other drivers, it’s allowed.

    Of course, most of the time someone flashes their beams at me is because there are moose about to cross the road. Then I am extremely grateful for the warning

  15. Arielle

    This is what America is all about! Helping each other stay away from those police. Ha. “it’s just The Late-Night Driver’s Pact, a rebellious fight-tha-police stance”. Love it! This happened to me a few nights ago..bless you kind stranger.

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  17. jabberwock

    I live in Ontario, Canada, where there was a big kerfuffle (love that word!) last summer because cops were giving tickets to drivers who did this. They were charged with interfering with a police officer in the course of his duty, or some such crap. Whoever fought it, beat it, because it’s an incorrect interpretation of the law, but a lot didn’t and got burned.And they wonder why we lose respect.

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  19. Amanda K

    I love this too! But then …. it makes me think about the urban legend of the guy in the backseat, and I ALWAYS turn around to check, heart pounding, just in case….

  20. Chris

    If one car slows down, the ones behind him slow down and we all benefit. The fact that he had a close call will make him think twice about speeding, too, I think, but those habits die hard. Maybe we should go around flashing our lights to make people slow down even when there are no cops around ;)

    • Yeah, I regularly flash people speeding regardless of police presence.

      And I’ve been pulled over for flashing my lights to warn drivers, told I was getting a ticket for ‘interfering in a police operation’, countered with a “do you know which section of the Road Traffic Act or the Criminal Code that is under?” and then surprisingly was let off with only a warning.

      It’s all bluff!

  21. I love that! It’s like a wink to the other driver. ‘Don’t worry man, I got your back’

  22. Rod

    I liked the older cars who had the high beams button on the floor next to the brakes…much easier to use. Carmakers should bring back the floorboard brights!!!!

    • Ashley

      Mine’s where the turn signal is. It’s just as easy, and if I get pulled over for it, I can just say that I accidentally hit it the wrong way when I meant to change lanes.

      Then again, I’m afraid to flash my lights around here; I know Texans are meant to be friendly, but I live near Ft. Worth, AKA Murder Worth (I work with people who have been affiliated with gangs in a rehab type facility). Basically, the idea is that several gang members go out on a drive, and newer gang members, “initiates,” shoot at the first person who flashes their lights as they are driving by. As far as I know, this hasn’t happened recently, but I don’t want to be the first recent case, either; therefore, I’ve never flashed my lights, for fear that the person might try to shoot me.

  23. Daisy

    This one reminded me of something I love,a bit similar I think. Being on a bus and another bus drives past going to where you have come from and you spot the driviers giving each other a secret wave or nod. I actually love that moment.

  24. Jade

    I’ve never had that happen. Around here, if someone flashes their highbeams at you it means your’s are on and are currently blinding them…

  25. Li

    It’s really cool when this happens in Jamaica. You won’t just get one flasher, but about 5 minutes of oncoming traffic flashing to warn you about one speed trap. No one likes the cops there.

  26. Brooke

    I too love this.. however my sister-in-law recently recieved a relatively large fine because she flashed a line up of oncoming cars and there was a ghost police car in the bunch. Now I feel nervous to be the flasher.

  27. Virgil

    Hmmm, in much of Europe and the Gulf, drivers flash at the car in front to indicate they’re coming through and so get the hell out of the way. The Germans even have a name for it: die Lichthupe, roughly translated as “light horn.”

    • Drew

      This is talking about flashing an oncoming car, not from behind. Flashing the car in front of you over here means “You’re in the passing lane going way too slow for me. GET THE *&%#$ OUTTA MY WAY!!!”

  28. yup yup yup

    I always do this I’m just kind of scared to do it at night though cause…what if the person I’m flashing is a cop? Do you get in trouble for that?

  29. PJ

    Just got back from Morocco, got saved by multiple flashes there too!

  30. Em

    When I was a kid my mums BF, always drove with us in the car drunk, really drunk. I was a kid and it scared me, and people would flash him all the time, he would then take another route and was not caught.

    I wish he was.

    I will not warn because you don’t know if its a drunk man about to kill his family or another innocent.

  31. Human Individual

    These comments actually sound really. lol ya I flashed somebody the other day, oh i got flashed just this morning, I get flashed all the time, i acidentally flashed a cop. lol think about how that sounds

  32. Human Individual

    These comments actually sound really “funny”. lol ya I flashed somebody the other day, oh i got flashed just this morning, I get flashed all the time, i acidentally flashed a cop. lol think about how that sounds.

    ya i noticed my error right after posting

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  34. Shannon

    I love being the flasher. I feel so rebellious, and I always look around for other cops after I flash to make sure I don’t get in trouble for “tattle telling” on their buddies. :)

  35. Pants

    Its also fun to be the “braker”… when you see a cop car up ahead and hit your breaks really quick to warn the people behind you that there’s a speed trap… that’s common in NYC.

  36. johnny

    As far as percentages, most of the time there’s not a criminal in the car you’re flashing, usually just Joe Schmo going a little too fast. For me, flashing hi-beams to warn other drivers about a cop is just a little bit of karma-building.

    I did have a guy run off his front porch and shake his fist at me once for warning the guys coming down the road of a cop hiding in his well-concealed driveway. It was kind of funny, this old man in my rear-view mirror running down the road, shaking his fist in rage! I think that slowed EVERYONE down.

  37. czap

    if the cops pull you over just tell them you “accidentally” bumped the lever/switch

  38. wendywithaurora

    LOVE the photo with this post~awesome:)

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  42. A big thank you for your article. Will read on…

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