It can be challenging for truckers to communicate with other drivers. Big rig drivers will often use CB radios to communicate with each other. However, very few drivers of passenger vehicles have these radios. Instead, truckers will often use their lights to communicate with drivers.
If you see a trucker flashing their lights at you, it can mean several things.
Today, we’re looking at five different reasons truckers flash their lights. Let’s dive in so you can know how to respond the next time you see a trucker flash their lights.
Is It Illegal to Flash Bright Lights When Driving?
Flashing your bright lights while driving falls under traffic laws, typically set by the state. This means that specific rules and regulations will vary from state to state. However, it’s generally not illegal to flash your bright lights at an oncoming vehicle to alert them that their bright lights are on.
Many states, however, require drivers to switch to their low beam lights whenever they’re within 500 ft of an oncoming vehicle or 350 ft when approaching a vehicle from behind.
This helps maximize visibility for all drivers and avoids causing vision issues from the bright lights.
Can You Drive with High Beams If You Have a Headlight Out?
In most states, both driving with a headlight out and high beams on are illegal. Driving with your high beams on is not a substitute for having a headlight out. If you have a headlight out, you should immediately get it fixed. If not, law enforcement will likely stop you to tell you to fix it.
An officer may issue you a citation or what is often called a “fix-it ticket.” A fix-it ticket will require you to fix the issue and have an officer sign off that you have addressed it. Failure to do so within a specific amount of time automatically becomes an actual ticket with a fine.
Pro Tip: Non-truckers can take showers at truck stops, here’s how.
5 Reasons Truckers Flash Their Lights
If you see a trucker flashing their lights at you, there’s likely a reason for it. You have to consider the circumstances and respond accordingly. Let’s look at a few common reasons truckers flash their lights at other vehicles!
Speed Trap Warning
If you see a trucker flashing their lights at you, they might be trying to do you a favor by warning you to slow down. Because truck drivers utilize CB radios, they are often aware of speed traps by law enforcement long before you can see them.
This is a relatively common way for drivers to warn each other to slow down, not just truck drivers. So if you see an oncoming vehicle flash their lights at you, it’s a good idea to check your speed.
However, it’s important to know that flashing your lights to warn of speed traps varies from state to state. While some states classify it under the First Amendment and an individual’s right to free speech, not all states agree.
Some issue citations to drivers flashing their lights in this manner.
Truck drivers will often flash their lights to thank fellow drivers. This is often due to a driver making space to change lanes, especially in busy traffic situations.
It can be easier for a trucker to flash their trailer lights instead of rolling down their window and waving to show their appreciation.
Communicate With Passing Vehicles
If you’ve ever passed a semi and had them flash their lights at you, they’re letting you know there’s room for you to change lanes. This is often the case when traffic is behind you that wants to pass you. The trucker is trying to help with the traffic flow and let you know that it’s safe for you to get over so they can pass you.
This can be especially helpful if you’re towing a trailer and unsure of how much room is between you and the semi you are passing. Glancing back and seeing the quick flash of their lights can assure you that it’s safe to change lanes.
Did You Know: This is how non-truckers can sleep at truck stops.
Warn Others of Road Changes
Because truckers can communicate with other truckers, they may be aware of an obstacle in the road. Hitting an obstacle at a higher rate of speed can be very dangerous and even deadly. A trucker may be aware of an accident or stalled vehicle and warn you to slow down or change lanes.
Depending on the weather, they may flash their lights to let you know that the road conditions are changing. This could be snow, ice, or standing water that could cause issues for drivers.
A trucker may also flash their lights at you because you’ve done something to anger them. Whether you cut them off in traffic or are simply driving poorly, you might consider a trucker flashing their bright lights as a way of cursing at you.
Truckers typically drive hundreds of miles each day and have very little patience for unsafe drivers. We strongly suggest not driving dangerously around them because semi-trucks are substantially larger and thousands of pounds heavier than passenger vehicles.
Know How to Communicate with Other Drivers
Communicating with other drivers is essential for everyone to drive safely. Failing to use turn signals and other indicators can be very dangerous. Everyone driving has a destination in mind where they want to arrive safely. When in doubt, slow down and take your time.
You’re not going to save that much time by speeding or failing to communicate with other drivers.
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