Ok, you're driving down that never ending Interstate and you come up on a slower truck that you'll need to pass. After you pass on left the slower vehicle quickly flashes their high beams a couple times with the best of intentions. They are trying to let you know you are clear to re-enter back into the right lane. You merge back into the right lane and thank them with a quick flash of your hazard lights and continue on. There is nothing wrong with that right? WRONG.
One thing many drivers do not consider when they take part in flashing their high beams is they are risking the chance of blinding the very person they want to help, or even worse yet oncoming traffic. So now the very action someone took in order to be helpful while on the road could actually become harmful. This has to stop, but if drivers quit signaling when it's clear how will the drivers who need the help be able to safely pass and merge? High beam flashing has become such an issue some company drivers are instructed not to flash when it's clear for the passing truck. Believe it or not in some jurisdictions high beam flashing could even result in a fine. Worst case scenario it could cause an accident and result in a lawsuit for "causing the accident by blinding on-coming traffic."
The other issue and just as serious as blinding drivers is the effectiveness and ambiguity of flashing your high beams. The history on high beam flashing is vague at best. Some think the practice became widely used as more drivers took to the roads via 2 lane highways prior to the Interstate system. Other schools of though suggest that once the mechanism for triggering high beams was moved from the floor to the steering column manufacturers marketed the lever as a new "Optical Horn" and thus can be used as a new form of communication between drivers. Regardless of what the origin of flashing high beams is, it is safe to say that flashing is used for a large variety of purposes. Depending on the situation at the time, flashing your high beams at someone could mean a whole slew of different things. "Your high beams are on", "Hey watch out, you're drifting into my lane", "I'm a motorcycle passing you as I split lanes", "Your headlights are out" so on and so forth. As drivers we have all tried to convey some form of message to other drivers by flashing our lights, in reality we are causing more harm than good.
Let's make a solution that is unique and sends a clear message to all drivers that feel compelled to help others by flashing them in and for those drivers who need the help without risking the safety (and eye health) of others. This is the 21st century, it's time for something new, so instead of flashing, dim. #DimItDown If you must indicate it's clear to pass please #DimItDown not Flash 'em in.
From now on when you need to signal a driver, dim your lights or hit the light interrupt a couple times. While not quite as attention getting as being flashed by high beams, if the driver was looking for a signal that it's clear to merge, they just got it. What's even better is if the driver was not looking for a signal they are now not going to be blinded by their side mirror when they check it. Best yet oncoming traffic no longer suffers from the courtesy of an "All Clear" signal and there is no risk to your perfect driving record being marred with stupid fines and citations just because you tried to help someone out in the wrong part of the country.
This is not something that will change overnight, but it is something that we can all have an impact on. The next time you need to signal that it is all clear, don't flash your highs; #DimItDown