If you haven't done it yourself, chances are you've been the recipient of someone flashing their high beams at you on the highway or a back road. For less experienced drivers or those unaware of the custom, the process may actually seem annoying.

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But those high beam flashes are actually a gesture. Anyone outside of law enforcement would likely call it a kind gesture. Flashing your high beams at another driver is to to let them know that around that pesky corner is a police officer checking your speed.

Most drivers with experience clearly understand and willfully accept the signal and immediately check their speed. But is that piece of driver-to-driver courtesy actually an illegal gesture in Maine?

Bright headlights of a car driving on foggy winter road

It is NOT Illegal to Flash Your Lights to Warn Other Drivers in Maine

The good news is that it's not against the law to flash your high beams at other drivers to warn them of an impending speed trap from police. According to the Portland Press Herald, it took a landmark case ruling in Oregon in 2014 to settle this as law around the country.

In that case, a truck driver was pulled over by police after he was spotted flashing his light to alert other drivers of an impending speed trap. The truck driver was given a ticket for improperly using his headlights for that incident.

But after fighting the citation, a judge ruled in the truck driver's favor, stating that flashing your headlights or high beams is an act of free speech. After the ruling, many states made adjustments to their laws to avoid a similar fate in court.

A police office on the side of the road as he writes a ticket.

What if Someone Just Flashes Their Headlights at Me?

On occasion, you'll see drivers flash their headlights and not their high beams at another driver. This is another courtesy gesture, letting you know that you're driving around without your headlights on.

That can be an important reminder for drivers behind the wheel of vehicles where the headlights don't automatically activate. It also can serve as an important reminder during rain and snowstorms to have your headlights on in Maine during inclement weather, since it's the law.

There Are Some Other Rules When It Comes to Lights in Maine

There are other headlight violations that do exist in Maine. As detailed here, having colored headlights (like red or blue) is prohibited in Maine, as is a neon or colored under-glow as a customization on your car. Both of those violations carry fines.


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Gallery Credit: Chris Sedenka

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