By Clair Morton
Published: Monday, May 14, 2018
It’s a quintessentially Aussie custom – flashing your headlights at oncoming vehicles to let them know of a traffic hazard, speed camera or hidden police car up ahead. But can helping out your fellow driver land you with a fine?
In some states, the answer is a clear yes, but in South Australia, the rules are open to a little more interpretation.
While there’s no specific penalty for helping other motorists avoid speed traps, there is an Australian road rule that stipulates the driver of a vehicle mustn’t use their headlights on high beam if they’re less than 200m behind a vehicle travelling in the same direction, or less than 200m away from an oncoming vehicle.
It’s also an offence to use, or allow to be used, any light fitted to or in the driver’s vehicle to dazzle another driver.
The penalty for the misuse of high beams or using lights to dazzle is $238, plus a $60 Victims of Crime Levy and one demerit point.
If you do get stung for either of these offences, you might be wishing you lived in Victoria, where Traffic Superintendent Dean McWhirter said in 2013 he was happy for drivers to flash their lights to warn other motorists they were approaching a speed camera.