Is It Illegal To Flash Your Headlights To Warn Others Of Speed Traps?
As you go about your normal routine driving on your way to work in Tyler, Texas, Pittsburg, Henderson, or Van, or while making the trip to the grocery store on the weekends in Lindale or Kilgore, without a doubt you've noticed police officers like to sit in certain spots to watch for those that are speeding. While oncoming drivers pass by them, some of these drivers like to give you a friendly warning there's a cop ahead by flashing their headlights at you. Did they just break the law by performing this action?
Can you get a ticket in Texas for flashing your high beams to warn others of the police ahead?
The answer can be a bit tricky. According to the Victoria Advocate, there is no specific law in Texas stating that you can be ticketed or arrested for doing this. However, there are rules within the Texas Transportation Code that could lead you to be cited for such an action though. The code states that,
high beams may not be used within 500 feet of oncoming traffic nor within 300 feet behind another vehicle."
Lt. James Poe of the Victoria Police Department says, "Whether or not I think it’s a good idea to flash your high beams just to help people to avoid getting caught for speeding, I don’t think it is." (Victoria Advocate) You don't really know why that officer is sitting on the side of the road.
Reasons why you shouldn't flash your high beams to warn of a police officer?
That officer might just be sitting there not running radar and completing paperwork on a previous stop or watching for a stolen vehicle to pass by or trying to identify someone that may be wanted and by flashing your lights you may be warning a wanted person.
So while technically you can't be ticketed for flashing your high beams to warn others of a policeman sitting there running radar on the side of the road, you can be ticketed if you do it within 500 feet of a car coming at you or 300 feet behind another car. I'm not sure about you, but I'm not sure how far 300 and 500 feet are, so I just don't do it.
Besides if you drive the same route you know where police might be sitting and if you're on a Texas state highway or Farm-to-Market road you know to slow down while going through small towns it's just common sense!
Officers aren't out there just to give you tickets, they want you to travel safely because speeding is among the leading cause of death while driving on Texas roadways. Then there's this explanation too.
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EDIT: This was originally Published February 2023.