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Is Flashing Your Headlights to Warn Other Drivers of a Speed Trap Illegal or Freedom of Speech?


Speed traps – we have all seen them and law enforcement does use them as a means to get people to slow down, especially in particularly dangerous areas where speeding is a problem. Some will also argue they are simply a revenue generator for a given city, county or state. The question is, if you warn other drivers about an approaching speed trap by flashing your lights, are you violating the law or exercising your First Amendment rights? First of all, not a week goes by where Leslie and I don’t get a call from a motorist warning of police officers running radar in a particular area on the Lloyd, Highway 41, I-64 or I-164. We used to let people know that through a traffic report until the Indiana State Police called and complained that we were compromising their efforts and creating a safety hazard for them. We complied with their request even though we did not agree.

As it turns out, people have been issued tickets in some states for flashing their lights to warn other drivers of a speed trap for obstructing justice. One case in particular happened in Missouri, where prosecutors dropped the case, but the ticketed driver has filed a class action lawsuit claiming that by flashing his lights as a warning to others was nothing more than him exercising his right to free speech.

Guess what? He was right, flashing your lights as he did, is protected under the First Amendment and cannot be prosecuted, which I honestly did not know, did you? If this has happened to you and you want to get in on the class action lawsuit…..good luck with that, you’ll never see a dime because some states, like Florida for example, have rewritten their policies on this and are training officers not to write such tickets.

So, we just learned about something that some thought was illegal that is actually legal, but what about something you though was legal, that is actually illegal? One of my biggest pet peeves on the road today are drivers who insist on use their car horn as a greeting. You know what I’m talking about, heck, you have probably even done it yourself.

Well guess what, you can actually get a ticket for that. The purpose of the horn is to warn other drivers and pedestrians that you are there to avoid an accident of some kind. Honking at your neighbor two cars over in bumper to bumper traffic to say hi is improper use of the horn Spanky and is illegal, so STOP IT!!!


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