You web browser may not be properly supported. To use this site and all its features we recommend using the latest versions of Chrome, Safari or Firefox

Car Headlights 628X290

You know the old Aussie tradition: see a cop car or unmarked speed camera and flash your headlights to warn other drivers. But is it legal? And when can you use your headlights legally? We give you the basics.

The legal purpose of headlights

According to Section 215 of the Australian Road Rules (2006), low-beam headlights must be used for driving at night or in hazardous conditions that cause reduced visibility – playing a clear role in avoiding and preventing accidents.

In fact, since the introduction of daytime running lamps (DRL) on vehicles in Australia, there has been a reduction of multiple vehicle injury accidents by up to 20 per cent and a reduction of fatal pedestrian accidents by up to 28 per cent.

However, when it comes to high-beam headlights, the road rules are stricter. This is because high-beam headlights have a stronger propensity to dazzle other road users, sometimes to the point of momentary blindness.

To flash or not to flash

While there is no specific road rule against flashing your lights with the purpose to warn other drivers, there are rules that can be (and often are) flexibly applied to the situation.

Therefore, it’s worth noting these rules and the fines that apply.

Flashing close to oncoming traffic

According to section 218 of the Australian Road Rules (2006), if you’re using high-beam headlights, you need to have at least a 200-metre buffer in front of your vehicle or any oncoming vehicle. However, if the driver is overtaking a vehicle, the driver may briefly switch the headlights from low-beam to high-beam immediately before the driver begins to overtake the vehicle.

Flashing to ‘dazzle’

Section 219 of the Australian Road Rules (2006) also prohibits you from flashing your lights to dazzle other road users.

If you get caught doing so in Victoria, you could face an on-the-spot fine of three penalty points ($455.01 as at 2015-16).

Laws state-by-state

The Australian Road Rules are not necessarily followed to the letter by each state – they are part of a national scheme to provide uniform road laws throughout Australia. Each state and territory is governed by its own set of road rules and it's worth checking to see how the law is specifically applied in your state.

Recent developments

The Victorian government’s installation of concealed speed cameras in 2013 caused the media to raise the question of whether ‘flashing warnings’ to other road users would see more fines.

Victorian Police Traffic Superintendent Dean McWhirter responded by encouraging road users to continue the practice in the hopes that it would build awareness about those newly installed concealed cameras.

"If that occurs I am comfortable with that because it means actually people are getting the message [about the concealed speed cameras]," Supt McWhirter told the Herald Sun.

While that may have been the position in 2013 in Victoria, the situation now Australia-wide is uncertain and the practice is indeed a risky one.

One hopes that everyone is paying enough attention to the road that light flashing is wholly unnecessary.

For more information, speak to one of our team today.

Sorry, but we can't help you with that.

Unfortunately, we don't offer legal services in this area for non-union members.

To help solve your legal matter, we have a network of firms and associations we can recommend.

If you are a member of a union, please visit our Union Services page to find out how we can help.

Our former commercial litigation team has now established their own, separate legal practice known as Walter Grant Legal. Walter Grant Legal is a specialist dispute resolution and commercial litigation law practice.

To help resolve your legal matter, click here to be redirected to Walter Grant Legal.

If you are a member of a union, please visit our Union Services page to find out how we can help.

Our former estate lawyers have now established their own, separate legal practice known as Zion Legal who are specialists in Will and inheritance disputes.

Make an enquiry with Zion Legal.

If you are a union member seeking the preparation of a will click here.

If you are enquiring about a new class action, click here

Or

If you are enquiring about an existing class action, click here

If you’re enquiring about Compulsory Acquisition of Land

Click here and complete and complete online enquiry form.

If you’re enquiring about Planning or Environmental Contamination

Click here and complete and complete online enquiry form.

If you’re enquiring on behalf of a not for profit/indigenous organisation

Click here and complete and complete online enquiry form.

How can we help? Back
Or

Did you know you can start your free claim check online by simply answering a few questions here here here here ?
Or
if you prefer, you can fill in the form below and we will give you a call back as soon as possible.

Thank you for your enquiry

Our Client Services team will be in touch with you shortly.

The contents of this blog post are considered accurate as at the date of publication. However the applicable laws may be subject to change, thereby affecting the accuracy of the article. The information contained in this blog post is of a general nature only and is not specific to anyone’s personal circumstances. Please seek legal advice before acting on any of the information contained in this post.

Thank you for your feedback.

Related blog posts

Compensation Law
A work injury can affect you more than just physically

Work is an integral part of the daily lives for many of us, and when we go into work each day we fully expect to then return home without incident. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case, as according to WorkSafe Victoria 27,925 new workplace injury claims were received last year*. Sadly, despite improved work health and safety practices, workplace injuries can still happen. Many people who’ve gone through a workplace accident, injury or illness have often noted how it turned their lives upside down, often leading to feelings of distress emotionally, physically or financially. Slater and Gordon National Manager of Social Work Services, Olga Gountras explains “nobody goes to work...

Shutterstock 2051360975
Compensation Law
As a firefighter Mike spent 24 years helping people, now he wants to help other firefighters

At 75 years old, Mike McGee likes spending quiet time with his wife, enjoying the seaside views from their home, or in his woodworking workshop, wood-turning and carving his next project. These days Mike has found a nice serenity in his retirement, after 24 years in the ACT Fire & Rescue, it’s a well deserved peace. Mike joined the fire-brigade in 1976 and has pretty much done it all – from working with bushfire tankers out in the regions, to taking emergency calls – no two days in his 24-year career was the same. Mike enjoyed his work, as a shift worker it allowed him the opportunity to spend more time with his wife and kids – a rarity at the time. He also loved the comradery,...

Mike Mc Gee
Compensation Law
Injured on the road for work? Who should you make a compensation claim with?

In every state and territory, we have a number of different schemes and programs to help people who have been injured get back on their feet. If you’ve become injured or ill at work, you can make a claim for Worker’s Compensation. If you’ve suffered an injury on the roads there are a range of compensation benefits you can claim through Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance. Most of us will rely on a motor vehicle of some sort, either as a passenger or driver, to get to and from work each day, and sometimes even during work time. If you get hurt in a motor vehicle accident (including on public transport), whilst you’re working, your claim for compensation for time off work and...

Traffic jam

We're here to help

Start your online claim check now. Or, if you have a question, get in touch with our team.