Murphy\’s Bye-Laws

Law #4: Any fool can make a rule, and any fool will mind it. –H.D. Thoreau

Flashing Oncoming Traffic Can Expose You

Posted by PintofStout on October 10, 2008

How many times have you been driving on a highway and saw an oncoming vehicle flashing their headlights?  How many times did you slow down or use extra caution when you saw this blatant act?  To me, and to all other flashers I assume, this signal is a general warning to slow down and take caution.  It could be warning of an accident ahead, a breakdown, or an authoritatively painted car with lights on the roof and an overly-inflated ego overflowing from inside.  Whatever the need for caution, the gesture is a helpful one…and one not looked upon highly by police officers.

As this 2003 NPR story verifies, police and their partners in privateering don’t look highly upon drivers warning fellow drivers of the police presence.  Comments on this Car and Driver message board and certainly countless personal anecdotes attest to the parasitic, predatory nature of traffic police and police in general.  While some of the responses from officers on this forum are encouraging, there is also much to worry about from some others (this Google Search turned up several more police forums and some idiots on FindLaw).  Beyond the obvious safety vs. revenue argument for speed traps, there is also the blatant us vs. them attitude pervading the police community.  This attitude has resulted in the need for the “them” in that argument to adopt the same stance.  One of the comments on one of the above-linked forums says that police patrol highways to keep traffic moving smoothly.  I don’t see how this is possible if people violently slam on their brakes at the sight of a police car.  Apparently, the police sit or even hide on the side of the road like a cat waiting to pounce us to safety.  They remind of the modern highwaymen or highway pirates trying to spring on unsuspecting travelers to shake them down for profit.

The whole scenario points to a simple and fairly low risk counter-economics strategy.  By flashing your lights to warn oncoming traffic, you are taking money away from the state.  This neighborly act is like putting change in expired parking meters (also frowned upon by your local bullies in blue) or putting lanterns in the bell tower of a church.  Some flashers may not realize it, but by performing this simple warning they are slowly undermining the state.  The vast majority of people, I feel, would be in favor of this helping to keep others, even strangers, out of trouble with the police, but this sentiment is hardly ever recognized as the diminished authority  of the state in our minds.  Like bad-mouthing politicians and politics in general, somehow this never translates into the realization of the base premise at work here:  it is the State vs. Us, we are not the state and the state is not us.  Yet the indoctrination is still effective.  Wave a flag or encite a panic and everyone is running to the voting booth to hand off their sovereignty just as fast as they can…without being ticketed, that is.


Some random media that I like to associate with this post:

A video about a flasher: Here (NSFW – Language)

A poem about highwaymen with no connection to the post, except the blurring of the hero and villain: Here.


2 Responses to “Flashing Oncoming Traffic Can Expose You”

  1. Sheesh, I always thought flashing your lights at someone meant TURN YOUR HIGH BEAMS OFF YOU STUPID MORON

  2. Flashing your lights or your high beams can communicate all kinds of things; that is certainly one of them. Much is communicated with the length and frequency of flashes, how long the flashing continues, and situation of the receiver of these signals.

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