We all get frustrated when we're driving and I'm sure at one time or another you flipped on your brights to an oncoming car. We can tell you what Washington State law has to say about using your high beams.

Bright headlights of a car driving on foggy winter road

Is It Legal To Flash High Beams In Washington State?

I know I have. There are several reasons why I flip my brights on at other vehicles coming towards me. I think the number one reason we flip our brights on is that the oncoming car has their brights on. We signal them to turn off their high beams because it's blinding at night.

Can You Flash Your High Beams To Get Past A Slow Car?

Another reason to flip our brights on is telling the car coming at us that there is a speed trap up the road. My parents did that all the time when I was a kid when they'd zip past a hidden police cruiser. I'm sure you are aware of that little trick right?

How Do I Use My High Beams To Flag Another Driver Down?

The next reason to flip our brights at another car is the fact that they don't have their lights on in the middle of the night and present a danger to themselves and other cars on the highway.

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You'd think flipping your high beams on for those reasons would seem legally ok because you are trying to do a good thing but sadly Washington law and police don't feel the same as you and I about it.

car in blurred motion in city street with switched on headlights in autumn

Can You Get A Ticket For Flashing Your High Beams In Washington State?

It's actually illegal to flip your brights on at another car no matter what.

Washington law says that it's illegal to flash your high beams or activate them within 500 feet of an approaching vehicle, and 300 feet if you're coming up behind another vehicle according to an article posted by zcar.com

In a quote in the article, State Trooper Cliff Pratt says " They're for illumination, not communication" Pratt continues to say that dealing with broken equipment on another car is the concern of the police and that you should be more concerned about your own vehicle.

Star reflection of cars long lights in rear view mirror at sunset.
Goran Jakus Photography

I've never seen anyone pulled over for the infraction though I do remember many years ago having a friend get pulled over for flashing his lights to warn about a speed trap set up by the Washington State Police.

It Is Illegal To Flash Your High Beams To Pass Another Car In Washington State

According to the law, it's illegal to flash your brights for several reasons so the next time that speeding car flies up behind you flashing their high beams, just know they are ripe for two tickets, speeding and misuse of their high beams.

You can check out more details on the law here.

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