Florida Law: Can Drivers Legally Flash High Beams At Other Drivers?
How well do we know Florida law? We’ve all done it. We’ve all flashed our headlights at other vehicles for one reason or another. It used to be a practice primarily limited to warning other drivers of upcoming speed traps. Also, to let them know to turn on their headlights or to turn off their brights.
The informal system worked well, and other drivers were generally grateful for the heads-up. Things have changed in recent years, though. These days flashing lights at an oncoming car or into the car in front of you can be seen as an aggressive act. It’s not necessarily the friendly warning it used to be.
In other words, flashing your lights at another vehicle could launch a road rage incident here in a state synonymous with road rage. Drivers can take things wrong, or maybe these days, the intent isn’t so friendly anymore. So the risk is yours to weigh, but the real question is about the legality.
Is it legal?
Regardless of intent, flashing your headlights to signal other drivers has been legal in Florida since 2013. A law took effect allowing the practice for any reason at all, not just to warn about a speed trap. For years, the state’s law enforcement agencies opposed the initiative, because they feared it would make the speed traps less effective, but since the end result of flashing your lights was the same as the speed traps themselves – to slow down speeding drivers – common sense prevailed and flashing lights at other cars became legal. In fact, the law passed in the wake of a successful 2011 lawsuit by a Wesley Chapel driver ticketed for flashing his lights to warn other drivers. The lawsuit proffered that about 2,400 drivers in Florida were ticketed for flashing their lights between 2005 and 2010. A judge in Pinellas County dismissed the man’s $115 ticket.
Police can still ticket you for using high beams within 500 feet of an oncoming vehicle, or within 300 feet of the vehicle ahead.
[Source: Miami Herald]