Do You Flash Your Headlights To Warn Other Motorists Of Speed Traps? If So, You Could Get Fined £1,000

If you are driving along and you suddenly start to notice another motorist coming from the opposite direction flashing their lights at you, then it usually means a couple of different things. 

You have either forgotten to put your headlights on, you have left your weekly shopping on your roof, or there is a speed trap ahead of you. 

If you ride a motorbike and a fellow biker approaches you having just gone through a speed trap, then a hand gesture is customarily given to alert the other biker. 

Hand signals often used by motorcyclists

Of course, if you aren’t speeding, then you have nothing to worry about (assuming you are taxed, insured, MOT’d and have a valid driving licence). 

But if you have crept over the speed limit, then this unofficial ‘warning system’ will not only slow you down, but it could potentially save you from having to spend £100 on a ‘speed awareness course’. And let’s face it, motoring is already expensive! 

But flashing your headlights at your fellow motorists to warn them about a speed trap could land you with a £1000 fine. 

Chronicle Live revealed that this early warning system could actually mean that you end up paying a fine that is 10x higher than what the speeding motorist could face. 

The Highway Code (last read just before you passed your driving test) explains that you can only flash your headlights to let other road users know that you are there (Rule 101). 

But if this rule is taken literally, then it also means flashing your lights to let other motorists pull out of a junction could even land you in trouble. Unlikely, but possible. 

The Department of Transport warns a breach of Rule 110 and 111, which outline the rules of motorists flashing their headlights, could stand up in a court of law as evidence.

Don’t worry; you are not going to end up with a motoring conviction just because you warned a motorist about a speed trap by flashing your headlights at them. 

But if a police officer spots you doing it and they really want to throw the book at you, then they could technically fine/summons you for breaching section 89 of the Police Act 1997: “willfully obstruct a constable in the execution of his/her duty.”

The maximum fine for obstructing a police officer is currently capped at £1,000. 

Maybe then, it is just easier and less grief (and safer) to stick to the posted speed limit? 

CLICK HERE to follow ‘Daily Dits’ on Facebook for more bizarre, funny and entertaining stories (as well as the occasional serious stuff) 

12 comments

  • That’s incorrect, the person in the camera van is not a police officer

    • I flash because obviously there is a dangerous bit of road so to warn on coming traffic. If it wasnt dangerous there would be no need for the camera van

  • Highway code say with fully obstruct a CONSTABLE , so is it an offence where the radar vans are operated by civilian employees?

  • It is perverting the course of justice and can still land you a fine. Also civilians working these posts have devolved powers from the Chief Constable and so would have the same interpretation as “constable” in these circumstances in court, in the same way if you hindered a PCSO

    • No they don’t. The Police Reform Act 2002 covers this point in detail, civilianised roles such as PCSO,s, Dedicated Detention Officers, National Crime Agency, Civilian Investigators etc are conferred certain powers specific to their role, however in the set of circumstances described, the CPS would not be able to prove a charge under S89 Police Act 1997.

    • Nick Horobin

      Parking in such a way to prevent the detection of a crime, I.e blocking the view of the camera would be obstruction surely, flashing your headlights and therefore preventing a crime allegedly taking place is surely not perverting the course of justice when there is no proof beyond reasonable doubt that an offence would have or indeed had been committed

  • Unless the enforcement van is crewed with warranted Police Officers, or designated people (PCSO’s, NCA, DDO’s etc) covered under the Police Reform Act 2002, then Section 89 of the Police Act 1997 cannot be considered.

  • grahamblowen

    If there is an obstruction on the other side of the road,like a breakdown or horses,and ,then there is bend where oncoming traffic would not be able to see it,then I flash my lights in the hope that they may realise that there could be a problem and be prepared.

  • It’s only fair if danger imminent again to oncoming veh to flash to warn them its sensible thing to do .but as far as the cameras they are there for good reason and if traffic ignoring speed limits or without ins or mot that’s there problem and they need stopping

  • I ALWAYS FLASH A WARNING AND ALWAYS WILL!

  • Not strictly true. Police would have to prove your intent was to cause another road user to alter their action. Also the other road user would have to actually amend their action. So flash lights – police to prove it was as a warning of a speed trap and you wanted people to slow. Second the other vehicle must have been speeding and slowed down due to your flashing lights and not because of another reason (i.e. satnav warned of speed trap)

  • If the law allows you to place van cameras where ever you want then I guess I got the freedom to flash who I want and when i want, you either a democratic country or a communist one, take time.

Let us know what you think!