Tuesday, September 22, 2009

To flash or not to flash?

Most of us have witnessed, participated or are at least familiar with the concept of flashing the headlights to warn others of upcoming radar traps. Drivers will then slow down and avoid being caught speeding. Some drivers may be a little apprehensive to do this because they believe it is against the law by obstructing a police officer on duty. It is not illegal.

According to police and other officials, there is nothing in the provincial legislation to prevent drivers from flashing their headlights to warn oncoming traffic. There are cases where drivers have been charged under the Highway Traffic Act for alternating flashing headlights typically used by emergency vehicles. These charges are often dismissed in court.

Sgt Cam Wooley of the OPP says, “It’s not an offence under the Highway Traffic Act in Ontario… drivers are free to communicate with each other.” That does not mean that you cannot be pulled over. An officer may believe that the driver is in distress, may require medical attention, may be warning about a situation ahead such as an accident, or they may be something wrong with the vehicle. The officer may pull you over and question your intentions; they may even ask to perform a full inspection of your vehicle.

The most common charge is improper use of high beams at night. With this charge only valid at night, the officer would not be able to use it at all during any day-time hours. If you are one of those drivers who feels obligated or compelled to warn your fellow motorists of a radar trap, you may actually be free and clear to do so. Like with many other situations, it can depend on the specific officer who pulled you over. According to their discretion, they may try to find a way to write you a traffic ticket. If you happen to be one of those unlikely drivers, contact Traffic Ticket Solutions and we can help you build a strong and solid defence and work on getting your traffic ticket eliminated.

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