There’s an interesting message in this story about a motorist who was stopped by a traffic patrol for giving an on-coming motorist a warning flash of his headlights. The reason he, and thousands of other Kiwi drivers flash their headlights at on-coming cars is to warn them of an approaching hazard, or a hidden cop or camera car just down the road just in case the on-coming car is going a bit quick. According to the letter of the law the practice is illegal and is labelled along the lines of ‘excessive’ or ‘inappropriate’ use of headlights. In this case- ‘Excessive’? Clearly not- he flashed once. ‘Inappropriate’? Arguably not when the effect will be to slow the on-coming vehicle down if they are indeed exceeding the speed limit.

What is the purpose of patrol cars and speed cameras? Surely it is to discourage drivers from speeding. So the job done by flashing drivers is exactly the same as patrols and cameras! Of course the police won’t subscribe to this but instead urge drivers to report excessive speed and/or dangerous driving. Why? Surely it gets away from the general purpose of slowing our driving public down and comes to what practices they can gather revenue from? Ticketing patrols and speed cameras! (…and flashing headlights?)

So this is where the interesting message comes in- the public are expected to abide by the law but are not expected to be proactive in prevention of others breaking it, but to be whistle-blowers instead. The police want Kiwi drivers to be law-abiding but don’t want them to encourage other Kiwi drivers to similarly stay within the law.

I would have thought that any actions that cause other drivers to do so responsibly would be encouraged.


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