Can Flashing Your Headlights Get You a Ticket in New York?
I do a lot of driving in the dark and I never know when I see headlights flickering whether it's because the roads are bumpy or because someone is flashing their headlights at me to warn me that there's something wrong with my vehicle or that law enforcement is ahead.
Last week, I clipped a deer on my way home in the dark on Hawleyton Road in the town of Binghamton and although the creature ran off, it did some serious damage to the front of my car, including knocking out one of my headlights.
For the remaining five miles home, vehicles were flashing their lights at me and I knew and appreciated that they were giving me a heads-up that I had a headlight out.
With all of the rules that New York has, you might be surprised to learn that it is not illegal to flash headlights at another driver, even if it's to warn them that law enforcement is ahead.
New York Vehicle and Traffic Law Section 375 (3) states that headlamps "shall be operated so that dazzling light does not interfere with the driver of the approaching vehicle" so wouldn't flashing headlights at someone constitute as "dazzling light?"
A decision was reached in 1994 by Appellate Division, Second Department that flicking high beams does not constitute "dazzling lights." Additionally, in 2009, the Fourth Department made it clear that flashing lights is not a violation of any laws in New York and that a vehicle cannot be pulled over for flashing its lights.
As long as you are not interfering with police doing their job, you can't get in trouble for flashing your headlights in New York.