Flashing headlights

Commuting, Day rides, Audax, Incidents, etc.
FatBat
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Joined: 20 Feb 2007, 1:06pm

Re: Flashing headlights

Postby FatBat » 3 Dec 2020, 9:03am

A couple of days ago, I was driving home and wanted to turn right at a crossroads. Someone driving in the opposite wanted to turn right into the road on my left, so we had the usual "do we pass offside-to-offside, nearside-to-nearside, who goes first??" dilemma. The other driver then flashed their lights in a "you go first" kind of way. I didn't turn, as I could see someone cycling behind their car, and someone riding a motorcycle behind the cyclist. The other driver then gave an irate "GO ON THEN, What are you waiting for?" gesture - one look in her rear-view mirror would have revealed why I wasn't going to turn. Obviously, whilst she was ranting, the cyclist and motorcyclist both passed her car on the nearside. I didn't have the wherewithal to shout "Rule 111 in the Highway Code"....

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Mick F
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Re: Flashing headlights

Postby Mick F » 3 Dec 2020, 9:36am

Same thing, could happen at a small roundabout.

Just say there are four equally spaced exits.
One car arrives at each exit at exactly the same time.
At a roundabout, you give way to the traffic on your right. ie the exit on your right has priority over you.

The result with the above scenario, is stalemate.
Someone has to go first.

Who flashes who?
Perhaps they all flash!
Mick F. Cornwall

Jdsk
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Re: Flashing headlights

Postby Jdsk » 3 Dec 2020, 9:38am

661-Pete

Thanks for sharing. It's really helpful in improving our own road craft to discuss these difficult situations.

Looking back is there anything about your own position or speed that you'd now do differently?

Thanks

Jonathan

PS: Obviously I could quote bits of the HC here but it wouldn't really affect much in the complex real world.

Jdsk
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Re: Flashing headlights

Postby Jdsk » 3 Dec 2020, 9:43am

Cyril Haearn wrote:What should I do if the driver in front flashes her brake lights?

My thoughts when this happens are:

1 She probably isn't a murderer or terrorist. But we know that opinions differ on this.

2 What is she trying to tell me? Does she think that I'm too close? Has she recognised that she's going to brake quite soon and is helpfully letting me know as early as possible? Has she spotted something not right about my vehicle such as loose bit flapping around?

Jonathan

colin54
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Re: Flashing headlights

Postby colin54 » 3 Dec 2020, 9:52am

The parked HGV's obscuring the exit were to blame, they created the situation.

Jdsk
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Re: Flashing headlights

Postby Jdsk » 3 Dec 2020, 9:57am

I wouldn't use blame yet. But there are lots of causes or contributing factors, as there always are in any situation that's worth discussing.

Jonathan

colin54
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Re: Flashing headlights

Postby colin54 » 3 Dec 2020, 10:09am

colin54 wrote:The parked HGV's obscuring the exit were to blame, they created the situation.

In the wrong then initially, or initially in the wrong perhaps then ?

ian s
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Re: Flashing headlights

Postby ian s » 4 Dec 2020, 10:05pm

I like the name at least one of the European country's name for the headlamp flasher (I think it may be Germany, but don't quote me on this) where it is called the "optical horn". That is what it should be used - only that.

Jdsk
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Re: Flashing headlights

Postby Jdsk » 4 Dec 2020, 10:10pm

Lichthupe

Jonathan

rmurphy195
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Re: Flashing headlights

Postby rmurphy195 » 4 Dec 2020, 11:56pm

Cyril Haearn wrote:What about other 'communications'? What should I do if the driver in front flashes her brake lights? :wink:


Well, options that spring to mind are:-

    a) Ignore it until you crash into the back of the car
    b) Assume she has seen something you haven't and treat it as a warning, or
    c) Follow her to the pub, assuming its a come-on of a different kind ..
Brompton, Condor Heritage, creaky joints and thinning white (formerly grey) hair
""You know you're getting old when it's easier to ride a bike than to get on and off it" - quote from observant jogger !

Bmblbzzz
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Re: Flashing headlights

Postby Bmblbzzz » 7 Dec 2020, 2:04pm

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.

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?

The lorry driver was wrong to invite the car driver out. This is one of many thousands of examples of the danger of doing so.
The car driver was wrong to accept the invitation without checking for themselves. Ditto.

Barks
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Re: Flashing headlights

Postby Barks » 7 Dec 2020, 2:45pm

I’ve seen three accidents resulting from someone flashing their headlights and the signal was taken as a sign that it was safe to proceed, and, on each occasion, I am pretty sure that was ‘the flasher’s ‘ intention (I was following behind the cars that were flashed). All were related to people pulling out into a road where cars were backing up and then being hit by a car proceeding along the opposite carriageway. I take anyone flashing their lights as a signal to stop or at least slow down and never pull out into a road based upon someone else’s judgement.

Cyril Haearn
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Re: Flashing headlights

Postby Cyril Haearn » 7 Dec 2020, 3:20pm

What can be done? Should the law be changed?
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Jdsk
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Re: Flashing headlights

Postby Jdsk » 7 Dec 2020, 3:24pm

I'm aware of the HC.

I'm not disputing that it can go wrong.

But any intervention should be judged on the balance of harms and benefits. I've seen many instances where flashing and other signals and communications have helped.

Jonathan

Jdsk
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Re: Flashing headlights

Postby Jdsk » 7 Dec 2020, 3:26pm

Cyril Haearn wrote:What can be done? Should the law be changed?

Let me guess. All of the police resources that are still available after widespread deployment to STOP signs should immediately be allocated to catching flashers?

Jonathan