Slow Down, Police Ahead! Is Flashing Your Lights Legal in Texas?
You're rolling down the highway when you spot a Texas State Trooper parked in the median. You go about another half mile and decide to flash your headlights to warn motorists that an officer could be tracking their speed just up the road.
Did You Just Break the Law?
The short answer is no. The longer answer is there could be exceptions to the short answer.
There is nothing on the books in the Texas Transportation Code that prohibits the flashing of lights to warn motorists of the presence of law enforcement. This indicates that you probably won't get pulled over for giving away the police's location, but I personally know of a few folks that have been pulled over for flashing their headlights.
Obstruction of Justice?
There is an argument that could be made that doing a warning flash is interfering with a cop performing his or her duties. But, is it obstruction of justice when a person who would have probably gotten a speeding ticket heeds the warning and slows down? Personally, I don't see that contention sticking in traffic court.
First Amendment Rights
There have actually been some courts in the country that ruled that flashing lights for such a reason is a form of communication...a form of speech which, by law, is protected by the free speech mandates in our First Amendment.
The Pros and Cons
Let's leave the legality of this issue aside and focus on the cause and effect of helping motorists avoid speeding tickets.
When somebody flashes their lights, I would hope that it's not done so with malicious intent toward the police officer. Instead, I think most are doing so to help fellow motorists avoid having their day ruined by getting an expensive ticket.
On the other hand, the faster you go, the better your chances of getting into a wreck. So, are you really doing a habitual speeder a favor by allowing them to avoid a ticket?
According to a report, sometimes police are on the side of the road looking for a stolen vehicle or for a specific car that was used in an abduction. A flash of the headlights could cause the suspect to make a quick route adjustment and avoid being captured.
Just something to think about.
Call Me Old
I used to have a radar detector and tried to add at least 10 mph to the posted speed limit. As I've gotten older (and maybe wiser), I've learned that life moves fast enough, there's really no need to speed. Plus, it's a more enjoyable drive when you don't have to keep your head on a swivel watching out for police.
Help 31 Texas Families Find Their Kids Reported Missing in July