/ Motoring

Why shouldn’t drivers flash others about speed traps?

Car headlights in the dark

Penalising drivers for flashing their lights to warn others about speed traps might be ok by the Highway Code, but it doesn’t promote road safety. More drivers should adopt these ways to improve camaraderie on roads.

Earlier this week, Michael Thompson, 64, was prosecuted for warning other motorists they were heading towards a speed camera.

Having been involved in an accident a few years before, caused by other drivers slamming their brakes on, Mr Thompson believed it was his ‘civic duty’ to alert other drivers and encourage them to slow down more gradually.

However, Mr Thompson was convicted of obstructing a policewoman in the execution of her duty, and ended up with a fine and costs totalling £440.

The Highway Code states that you should only flash your car’s headlights to let other road users know you’re there, not to convey any other message. But many drivers do flash their lights to warn of an obstacle or other hazard ahead.

Let’s promote camaraderie

I’ve been grateful to others for doing this in the past – some have warned me about horses up ahead, and others have spared me from a speeding ticket. So I have a lot of sympathy with what Mr Thompson did.

For one thing, you could argue that by getting motorists to slow down, Mr Thompson was actually helping the police and promoting road safety, as he was encouraging others to drive below the speed limit. More importantly, he was one rare driver who was promoting the camaraderie that used to be so common on British roads.

One of the founding principles of the AA, established in 1905, was to help motorists avoid police speed traps. And in these days of clogged, road-rage filled streets, surely a return to the friendliness that once existed between drivers is a good thing?

So is it right to warn other drivers if they’re heading towards a speed trap? Or should you leave them to plough on and end up with a fine and points on their licence in the hope it’ll encourage them to drive more slowly in the future?

Should drivers be penalised for warning others about speed traps?

No (85%, 981 Votes)

Yes (15%, 178 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,159

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jimbob says:
28 April 2013

seems a few of the posters above would be pleased to see the return of the man with the red flag! “speeding” kills they bleat! What exactly IS speeding? breaking the stated limit or going too fast? What is going too fast? different people have different opinions on this – we not only see vastly different limts in different countries ( are they idiots for having higher limits?) we also have different limits throughout this country – one cities ring road may be 30 anothers 50!
There is no doubt in my mind the police are out to TRAP speeders not deter them!

How do the police find out that you flashed a warning? Do they have more police hiding upstream watching for vehicles flashing? Flashing oncoming vehicles to warn of any hazard is good and could save lives so it should be encouraged. Surely cameras cause drivers to slow down and involve no expensive people who could be better employed elsewhere