Flashing headlights

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661-Pete
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Flashing headlights

Postby 661-Pete » 2 Dec 2020, 11:24am

Yes, I know the HC says you should only do it to warn other road users - but nearly every motorist I've encountered uses the gesture as a 'come on' signal.

So Mrs P and I got in a near miss today. We were overtaking a long line of parked HGVs on our nearside (myself in front). Another lorry was approaching us, from beyond the parked lorries, and it flashed its lights. Understandably enough, I took it for a 'come on' gesture seeing as we were already overtaking, and there was scarcely room for the lorry to squeeze past the parked lorries - let alone the parked lorries plus a cyclist.

But it wasn't. It was an invitation for a car driver to pull out of a driveway on our left, just beyond the parked lorries. Completely unsighted and not visible to us, of course. Which she duly did... :shock:

Luckily my brakes were good enough to just avoid the inevitable collision.

Who was in the wrong? I did utter a few choice (censored) words targeting the lorry driver, but he probably didn't hear them. Perhaps the headlight flash should have been taken by us as a warning after all?
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Jdsk
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Re: Flashing headlights

Postby Jdsk » 2 Dec 2020, 11:29am

Did the lorry stop, then flash, then remain stationary?

How many lanes, and which were you in as you approached the driveway?

Jonathan

Postboxer
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Re: Flashing headlights

Postby Postboxer » 2 Dec 2020, 12:03pm

Was the person pulling out turning right across your path? Were they coming out forwards or reversing? How quickly did they emerge from behind the parked lorries?

Any collision would be mainly the car driver's fault, as they were pulling out of a driveway into your path, if they are pulling out unsighted due to parked lorries, they should have been taking care to pull out slowly and carefully, not relying on a flash of lights from a lorry on the other side of the road. You should have then had time to see the car emerging and avoid it, either by stopping well in time, or continuing past it, assuming it would edge out until they could see you approaching then stop.

Perhaps the lorry driver could have foreseen the problem occurring and beeped their horn or something to alert all parties to the danger.

Cyril Haearn
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Re: Flashing headlights

Postby Cyril Haearn » 2 Dec 2020, 12:07pm

Just shows the need for enforcement, flashing is used and understood by many to mean something quite different to that stated in the HC, grrr

You certainly should not have taken it as a 'come on'!
..
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kwackers
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Re: Flashing headlights

Postby kwackers » 2 Dec 2020, 12:24pm

The fact you or they were flashed doesn't matter.

You can remove the "flashing" from the equation and assume it never happened.
Each driver is responsible for their own actions, "he told me to do it" isn't a valid get out of jail card.

Sounds like they pulled out into your path so they're at fault.

peetee
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Re: Flashing headlights

Postby peetee » 2 Dec 2020, 1:04pm

kwackers wrote:The fact you or they were flashed doesn't matter.

You can remove the "flashing" from the equation and assume it never happened.
Each driver is responsible for their own actions, "he told me to do it" isn't a valid get out of jail card.

Sounds like they pulled out into your path so they're at fault.


Spot on, IMHO.
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661-Pete
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Re: Flashing headlights

Postby 661-Pete » 2 Dec 2020, 1:59pm

I can answer some questions:

Yes the car driver was presumably pulling out to turn right i.e. towards me. But after the near-miss she reversed back into the driveway. We didn't stop to see what happened next.

With regard to the approaching lorry's signal, we had four options:
1. continue
2. stop there alongside the parked vehicles and wait.
3. dismount and squeeze selves + bikes into a gap between parked vehicles.
4. do a U-turn and scarper!
Not an altogether inspiring choice!

If the lorry driver hadn't flashed the car driver would have had to take more extreme care emerging, since she had no view to her right. Trouble with a flash of that sort, it gives other road users the misplaced message "he's telling me it's all clear, it's OK to pop out then...."

I remember, when I was learning to drive (rather a lot of years ago!), I once stopped at a junction where there were pedestrians waiting to cross, and gave them a 'come on' hand gesture. You can be sure that my instructor gave me a right old earful - said that if I did that in the test, it'd be a certain fail. "Avoid dangerous signals to other road users" - that's what it says (or used to) in the HC. Lesson learnt.

Or maybe not... :oops:
Suppose that this room is a lift. The support breaks and down we go with ever-increasing velocity.
Let us pass the time by performing physical experiments...
--- Arthur Eddington (creator of the Eddington Number).

Clouded Leopard
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Re: Flashing headlights

Postby Clouded Leopard » 2 Dec 2020, 2:36pm

From the Highway Code

110
Flashing headlights. Only flash your headlights to let other road users know that you are there. Do not flash your headlights to convey any other message or intimidate other road users.

Rule 111
Never assume that flashing headlights is a signal inviting you to proceed. Use your own judgement and proceed carefully.
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thirdcrank
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Re: Flashing headlights

Postby thirdcrank » 2 Dec 2020, 4:01pm

661-Pete wrote: ...

With regard to the approaching lorry's signal, we had four options:
1. continue
2. stop there alongside the parked vehicles and wait.
3. dismount and squeeze selves + bikes into a gap between parked vehicles.
4. do a U-turn and scarper!
Not an altogether inspiring choice!
:


The counsel of wisdom is choice 1 (A) Continue with caution.

To the extent that anybody is prosecuted for careless driving these days, I've no doubt that the emerging driver committed that offence.

However, had things resulted in a crash and a consequent compo claim, then I think the emerging driver's lawyers would be alleging contributory negligence on your part, with or without the flasher, but I'm less confidant than about the due care.

simonhill
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Re: Flashing headlights

Postby simonhill » 2 Dec 2020, 4:17pm

You can add to the equation that flashing means different things in different countries. I agree that in the UK, it normally means 'come on' or 'go' etc, but in some countries it is 'get out of my way, I'm coming through'. A possible fatal difference.

In this case, who knows what the lorry driver meant:
cyclist come on;
car - it's OK to pull out;
car beware cyclist about;
etc, etc.

...............but I would probably have done what you did.

tim-b
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Re: Flashing headlights

Postby tim-b » 2 Dec 2020, 7:15pm

Hi
So Mrs P and I got in a near miss today. We were overtaking a long line of parked HGVs on our nearside (myself in front). Another lorry was approaching us, from beyond the parked lorries, and it flashed its lights. Understandably enough, I took it for a 'come on' gesture seeing as we were already overtaking, and there was scarcely room for the lorry to squeeze past the parked lorries - let alone the parked lorries plus a cyclist.

I'm not sure what else you could have done, you're committed to an overtake and there isn't space for the oncoming lorry
But it wasn't. It was an invitation for a car driver to pull out of a driveway on our left, just beyond the parked lorries.

And you know that this was the lorry driver's intention?
Completely unsighted and not visible to us, of course. Which she duly did...

Or did she interpret the headlamp flash as an invitation to her, unable to see the two of you?
Perhaps the headlight flash should have been taken by us as a warning after all?

With the benefit of hindsight continue, but beware of obscured exits and hidden cars
Who was in the wrong?

In the circumstances as I see them in my head, not you
Regards
tim-b
~~~~¯\(ツ)/¯~~~~

rmurphy195
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Re: Flashing headlights

Postby rmurphy195 » 2 Dec 2020, 8:07pm

I always take a flashing headlight on an oncoming vehicle as a warning, until I know better.

Flashing headlights on a following vehicle I don't usually see when cycling, but when driving its usually 'cos I'm going too slow (eg 20mph in a 20mph limit) - this always gets a muttered response of "S*D *ff. Which can get a bit embarrasing at times because
a) When I mutter, I'm usually louder than I think I am, and
b) If I've got the roof down it gets embarrassing!
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fastpedaller
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Re: Flashing headlights

Postby fastpedaller » 2 Dec 2020, 9:46pm

You may have had a lucky escape? ....... Lorry driver may not have even 'seen' you were approaching and without the presence of the car, the lorry may have hurtled towards you! :(

Cyril Haearn
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Re: Flashing headlights

Postby Cyril Haearn » 3 Dec 2020, 6:31am

661-Pete wrote:Yes, I know the HC says you should only do it to warn other road users - but nearly every motorist I've encountered uses the gesture as a 'come on' signal.
..

Nearly every? What might be done about this?
I favour enforcement, if 'nearly every' driver were punished.. +millions!?

Or the law could be changed to reflect reality, -millions :(
..
What about other 'communications'? What should I do if the driver in front flashes her brake lights? :wink:
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MikeF
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Re: Flashing headlights

Postby MikeF » 3 Dec 2020, 8:23am

661-Pete wrote:Yes, I know the HC says you should only do it to warn other road users - but nearly every motorist I've encountered uses the gesture as a 'come on' signal.


That's exactly what the lorry driver was doing, but not for you, but for the driver exiting the driveway. :wink: Hence the HC statement.
"It takes a genius to spot the obvious" - my old physics master