We can drive it home….with one headlight (or none)

This post has nothing to do with the Wallflowers or their song, although I do like that one. It has to do with headlights, and the unwritten rules of the road. Chelsea and I have noticed a number of cars not responding to our “headlight language”, and wondered if people are oblivious, or if we have a different code than others. Off the top of my head I can think of at least 4 instances where I do something with my headlights to signal other drivers.

1: Flashing your lights off and on

At oncoming cars

This is reserved for when someone has their lights off, yet continues to drive. Commonly seen when people only put on their parking lights, or basically anywhere here in Ithaca. Of the 5 cars I’ve flashed in the past 2 weeks, zero have responded by simply turning on their lights. Don’t they look at the dash? Can they see the road in front is missing light?

At the car in front of you

Most often reserved for when a familiar car is in front of you, to me this would mean to pull over. The use of this technique has probably ceased due to everyone in both cars having a cellphone.

2. Flickering your high beams

At oncoming traffic

Usually this means they have their brights on too close for the comfort of your vision. Although with newer technology in the headlamp field, normal lights are really bright (see Xenon image above).

The other option for this is during the day time (or maybe even at night) when you have just driven through a speed trap and are signaling to drivers about to enter it. Not many people do this, and I’ve only seen it done or done it a few times.

At the car in front of you

Get out of the way, or at least please pull into the non-passing lane so faster drivers can go by. This technique has been perfected by my friend Steve, although you should ask him how effective it is to flicker your lights at an unmarked cop car.

So what does everyone think? Do you do the same things? Have you at least heard of them? Do you do something else? Or do you have your own blog post about strange things people do like flash their lights…

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