Why Do Truckers Flash You?

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truckers flashing their lights

You don’t have to drive long before discovering the importance of being a good communicator. Truckers often use their lights to communicate with other drivers.

However, it can get confusing if you don’t know what they’re trying to say. Luckily, we outline several common reasons truckers might flash their lights at you. Let’s learn more!

Can You Legally Flash Your Bright Lights When Driving?

You can find several legal cases where drivers have received citations for flashing their headlights. Many states restrict using high beams within 500 feet of an oncoming vehicle. Unfortunately, knowing when you can legally flash your bright lights when driving can be difficult.

As with many driving rules, the legalities of using your bright lights vary from state to state. It’s essential to familiarize yourself with your area’s specific laws and regulations to determine when it is appropriate to use your high beams and when it is not. 

Flashing your headlights to help increase safety is one thing, but warning others of the presence of police is an entirely different story.

Is It Safe to Flash Your High Beams?

Flashing your high beams is typically not safe. Using high beams with a vehicle coming at you can be extremely dangerous.

This can cause momentary blindness and reduce the driver’s ability to see the road. You don’t want a vehicle rocketing at you with a driver who can’t see clearly.

Because of the potential dangers, many states have rules for using high beams. Flashing or driving with high beams is a ticketable offense in many places. If you want to drive safely and avoid a hefty ticket, avoid unnecessarily flashing your high beams unless it’s an emergency.

Reasons Truckers Flash Their Lights

There are a handful of common reasons why truckers flash their lights. Let’s look at what they’re trying to communicate when they do. It might surprise you.

Safe to Pass

Truckers sit several feet higher than a standard passenger vehicle. This position allows them to see over hills, other vehicles, and much further down the road than other drivers. In certain situations, truckers may quickly flash their lights to let you know it’s safe to pass them. 

This is especially true if they impede traffic because of a steep hill or other elevation changes. If you see a trucker in front of you blinking their lights and you want to pass, this is likely what they’re trying to tell you. 

They don’t want to slow you down any more than they have to and will lend a hand in helping you get around them.

A truck on the highway

Signal a Warning

If you see a trucker flashing their lights, they may know something you don’t. These drivers often have ways of communicating with other truckers and knowing information ahead of time.

It could signal an object on the road, an accident, or other potential dangers. When you see a trucker flashing your lights, it could be a warning that you need to adjust your speed or driving. 

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Give Right of Way

It can be awkward if two cars arrive at the stop sign simultaneously. However, one driver will typically flash their lights to give the other driver the right of way. This helps ensure clarity about whose turn it is and who can proceed through the intersection.

If you simultaneously arrive at the stop sign or intersection and see the driver flash their lights, this may be what they want. 

Go ahead and proceed through the intersection cautiously, as they may give you the right of way because they need to make an extra wide turn, and you’d be in their way. 

A truck driver driving down the road

Show Appreciation

Sometimes a driver may flash their lights at you as a way of thanking you. It could be because you created room for them to change lanes or helped them in some other capacity. 

Many truckers will utilize their brake or trailer lights for this as well. They’ll give them a quick blink and let you know they appreciate you helping them out. So, if you see a trucker flashing lights at you, it may be a good thing.

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You Angered Them

Unfortunately, if you’re driving like a banshee, truckers may flash their lights because you did something wrong. Whether you cut them off or follow them too closely, they don’t take too kindly to bad drivers. You may want to adjust your driving if they flash their lights at you.

You have to remember that truckers typically spend the majority of their day on the roads. They don’t have time to deal with knuckleheads that don’t know how to drive. 

They may overlook a mistake or two, but they won’t give you much grace if you’re an unsafe driver. If you regularly have people flash their lights at you, there’s a chance you might be the problem.

An angry driver after a truck flashed their lights

Know Why Truckers Flash Their Lights

You can see that you have many possible reasons truckers flash their lights. What they’re trying to communicate will greatly depend on the situation. Most of the time, they do it to be helpful or to say thanks. 

However, you have a chance they’re flashing their lights because you’re bad or unsafe driving. It’s up to you to read each situation and know what they’re trying to say.

Have you experienced any of these scenarios?

1 comment
  1. If I am traveling down the highway and a TT unit wants to change lanes into the same lane as me, I will back off and flash my lights to tell them it’s OK to come in my lane, and that I made room for them to do it safely. Courtesy on the road is a two-way street.

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