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Can the Police Stop Me for "Flashing" My High Beams at Oncoming Traffic?

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Nothing in the PA Vehicle Code Prohibits a Motorist from "flashing" their high beams to warn of a 'speed trap' or an emergency situation ahead.

By Attorney Elisabeth K.H. Pasqualini, Traffic Ticket Attorney, Harrisburg, PA

I often get this question from well-intentioned drivers that want to warn their pals in the oncoming traffic lane that a cop is running radar or a speed trap just ahead.  They think that they have to be a "secret squirrel" about flashing their beams like it's Paul Revere warning the village Yanks that "the British are coming."  The truth is that there is nothing illegal about flashing your high beams during the daytime.  Doing it at night is illegal and poses a risk of harm to oncoming traffic that gets temporarily blinded by your high beams.

Here's what the PA Vehicle Code, 75 Pa.C.S.A. 4306, says about High Beams:

Whenever the driver of a vehicle approaches an oncoming vehicle within 500 feet, the driver must use the low beam of light from the headlights.  This requirement must be read in conjunction with statutory language that sets forth the circumstances when motorists are required to use their headlights and limits the use of high beams during the times when headlights must be used (night time).  The driver of a vehicle is also required to use low beams whenever approaching another vehicle from the rear within 300 feet.  This requirement does not impose a similar requirement to dim headlights when the motorist is passed by another vehicle that then pulls in front of the passed vehicle.  The daytime flashing of high beams is not a violation of the Vehicle Code even when used to warn oncoming motorists of the presence of a police radar unit.  The Vehicle Code also specifically allows motorists to flash high beams at oncoming vehicles as a warning of roadway emergencies or other dangerous or hazardous conditions ahead.

If you have been pulled over and ticketed for using your high beams improperly, be polite and accept the citation.  Never argue with an officer.  Contact an experienced traffic attorney at Shaffer & Engle Law Offices, LLC toll free or email us today.  We'll argue with the police for you.

3 Comments

In Washoe Co. NV I received a ticket for flashing my brights at an oncoming car with his brights on. Can I fightthis and win?

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