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When using a high-beam flash may cause more harm than good.

Discussion in 'General Motorcycling Discussion' at netrider.net.au started by SHEPPO, Sep 10, 2008.

  1. Hey fellow Netriders,

    On Saturday i had an interesting "moment" out on the Dandenong-Hastings Rd. After speaking about it with a few other people, some riders, some car drivers and some truckies, I've realised i may have been the contributing factor.... but i'll let you all have a read and be the judge.

    Cruising along at 100-110km/h on the R1 with the missus on the back. We were the only vehicle on the road heading north, and the only other vehicle was a massive truck heading south about 1km away. The road is duel lanes each way with a nice thick median strip (grass & trees) between us.

    I notice the truck slowing and indicating he wants to go onto the median strip, then i realise he's going to do a u-turn accross the median strip... ok.

    He pulls up, and has a look in our direction (about 300-400m away heading towards him @ 100-110km/h), and i see his face looking straight at us. The truck remains stationary.

    ... now this is where i may have instigated what follows...

    i hit the PASS button, signalling my high beams twice, with the intend he sees me incase he missed us at first glance. I also cover the brakes and start slowing by rolling off the throttle. at this stage we're doing around 100km/h and about 150m(ish) out when HE PULLS OUT AND BEGINS HIS U-TURN!

    So, keeping in mind my lovely lady on the back, i get on the brakes as hard as i can without sending her over the top of me, and get ready to avoid the truck, that was taking up both lanes as it was mid-u-turn. Factor in the reaction time and the speed i was going, i believe i was under 100m from the truck when the brakes were applied with force.

    More brakes on my behalf, and the truck completing the turn free'd up a lane which i took to miss hitting him, and no one was hurt. A quick "friendly" signal with the horn followed by my left hand, and we were all on our way.

    So, i ask you all, in you opinion, do you feel my high beam flash was the cause of this? As in, signalling the truckie it's safe to pull out? A few people have told me this!

    The point of all this, i guess, is to maybe get an understanding of how people interprut high beam flashes, and maybe avoid getting into a situation like this, where a missunderstanding may have been the cause.
  2. Re: When using a high-beam flash may cause more harm than go

    Truck drivers definitely use flashed lights to signal its clear to proceed. It's a problem for this very reason.
  3. I agree with ibast; two flashes of highbeam usually means "you're clear to go" for trucks.
  4. Yup, what they said. :grin:
  5. Unfortunately, in Australia, the "passing" light is not understood - at all. (regardless of which, a passing light should only be fired once). The problem is that in Aus - we have developed our own "headlight" code.

    High beams from directly behind a vehicle:
    1. 1 Flash - mild warning - like a car horn, but quieter.
    2. 2 Flashes - abusive warning - e.g. get the Fruck out of the way.
    3. ON - @sshole/road rager/etc

    High beams from next lane over but behind vehicle:
    1. 1 flash - hey, I'm here!
    2. 2 flashes - permission -- go ahead and do what you've indicated

    From oncoming vehicles:
    1. 1 Flash - you've left your headlights on HB/off
    2. 2 Flashes - cops ahead, watch your speed

    Indicators - alternating left-right-left-right = thank you (most common w/ truckers)

    That's the ones I recall at the moment - so, unfortunately, yes ... you in effect told him to go ahead and make the U-turn.
  6. It doesn't matter what the truck driver may or may not have thought you meant by flashing your lights, for most people it is a warning signal.

    He was wrong to proceed under the circumstances, and if he was witnessed killing you both he could have had a long holiday in a small room without a credible defence to the contrary.
  7. I've gotta agree with the guys above, you gave him a signal that is regularly used to signal "make your move"

    +1. 1 signal, so many percieved meanings.
  8. Beacause of the potential for disaster, I am pretty sure that it is illegal to flash your lights at anyone unless it is given as a warning, the same as sounding your horn.

    You wont learn any of these signals when you get your licence, nothing but a recipe for fatality.
  9. I was thinking that myself just the other day.
    In the cage it is not uncommon for someone to give you a flash or two of high beam to signal, "You go first" or something of that nature.

    Imagine this, some half wit cager sitting in a side street, sees you coming along, and you give him the high beam flash, to make sure he sees you, which in turn, he thinks you may be signalling him to go, then whack. T-Bone town. Now i'm not sure what kind of dumbass would take that as a "You go first" kind of flash, but I wouldnt put it past some drivers.
  10. The only time i use my high beams is to signal the driver in front to get the fark out of the right lane on the freeways. I never ever use them to signal anything, especially to try and communicate with merging traffic that is a definite recipe for disaster. If i have the right of way i take it if i don't then i give way. Always ride defensively.
  11. There is no law of the sort regarding high-beams in the Australian Road Rules.

    There is a law for the horn, you are correct:

    You are correct that there's no "written list" for how people use headlights to signal warnings, but a vague 'language' has indeed formed. Like we said - two flashes for a truck driver = clear to go, and I'm sorry to disagree with you but I think most other road users would interpret it the same way by proximity. Most of the people in this thread so far have certainly implied that they believe 2 flashes = clear to go.
  12. And a truck using the indicator to tell you it is safe to overtake is also often used, but illegal because it can and has led to head on accidents.
  13. You've got internet access, show me the Australian Road Rule that says this.
  14. thats weird !!
    of all the touring i have done on freeways, high beam pass signals meant about only a couple of things...to me and every one else i have shared the road with.
    If i am behind a vehicle and i high beam pass a vehicle, its :
    1. give way to me, u r blocking a right lane when u r going slow..
    2. let me pass .. (hence the name pass light) , this is needed spclly on an intersection.... if i am going straight on a road with my right of way, my pass signal indicates, i am not slowing down, let me go first.

    if some one does a pass signal from opposing direction, its to indicate, you are driving with your high beams on.

    constant high beam flash from behind a vehicle, even when you are not blocking any lanes, would mean the vehicle behind u wants to slow down and tell u something.

    let me give u a lil detail of how it goes on the highway/freeway with truckers.

    -am behind a truck, i flash my pass signal, wait for him to free my right lane, indicate towards the right and overtake, after overtaking indicate left to get back on your left lane (if needed)

    some basic signals of motor vehicles have been given a different meaning in this country altogether.

    same goes with the horn. It is NOT put in your bike/car to sophisticately abuse some other vehicle. It is an essential signal put in your vehicle for your and others safety.

    being always aware in the road is a different ball game, and is mandatory...but only use the horn to abuse someone and use the highbeam to warn about cops....thats ridiculous.

    You did the right thing by signaling the truck driver with your high beam pass lights, that YOU are there and wud not be slowing down, so the trucker waits till you pass. Its some dumb fcuked driver's own logical misinterpretation of basic road signals which got u into that situation.
  15. So true - but I never implied it was taught, only that this is the language that has formed on the road ... it's a language I had to learn (sometimes the hard way) over the last 20 years of driving.

    I have been doing ~40,000Kms per year in a cage and driven to or in most parts of Aus ... bike or cage regardless, the majority of users on the roads are cagers - and this is the language they tend to use ...

    As for whether it's illegal or not ... when has that ever deterred people?

    At the end of the day, assume only the one rule I do - everyone is trying to kill you. Act appropriately to that, and you should be ok.
  16. Yes.
  17. The usual warning to let someone know you are coming is to keep the high beam ON for an extended time, this indicates to the other party HEY I'm right here get the fcuk out of the way! don't move!

    flashing the lights as the op did was a clear signal to the driver to "go ahead"

    It's an unwritten rule that most road users understand.

    Banoobi, best not to make up anecdotes about the law but rather KNOW the actaul laws first before making them fact like you erroneously have. (not having a go at you)
  18. +1

    I flash trucks twice to let them know they are clear. You see them do it to each other all the time.

    You meant well but it's actually a well known Truckie signal so he was completely right in thinking you were giving him the thumbs up.
  19. :shock:
    seems like i ve got to start all over from the scratch about signaling in here :|
  20. Offence to Australian Road Rules:
    Rule 51 - Using direction indicator lights when not permitted. 2 Demerit points in SA.

    Going through the rules and demerit points, you'd be lucky to make a 30 min trip to work without being disqualified at the end of it with what they can actually get you for.

    Back on topic.... Put yourself in his shoes....your waiting to make a turn, and an oncoming car flashes you a couple of times in the distance, what would you do. To me that says its all good...do your thing.

    You probably did the only thing that would make him turn as it seems like he was going to wait :)

    Just a little scare, everyone lived, and the brown stains can be washed off the seats :)