A Redditor Wants Drivers To Stop Flashing Their Lights On The 401 & The Debate Is Heating Up

“People in Ontario legitimately just don't know basic rules of the road…”

Associate Editor, Toronto
​Highway 401 In Toronto.

Highway 401 In Toronto.

A driver's call to end the common practice of flashing headlights to signal others to move over on Highway 401 has ignited a fiery debate online.

As a regular commuter on the 401 highway in Ontario, the Reddit user expressed their frustration at being constantly flashed by other drivers, even when they are already driving above the speed limit. They argued this practice won't make them go faster and isn't worth the risk of getting pulled over for a ticket.

"Countless times, I’ll be passing a row of transports, and someone gets behind me and starts flashing their brights," they wrote.

"Can I tell you what that doesn’t do? Speed me up. I’m already speeding. I’m not going faster. Because you aren’t gonna pay my ticket when I get pulled over."

The post has generated a flurry of discussion among users, with some agreeing that flashing lights can be intimidating and dangerous.

"Unless you are having a medical emergency, lay off flashing your lights. You are not nearly as important as you think you are and there is nowhere you need to be that justifies putting other people at risk," one Reddit user wrote.

from ontario

Another person listed it among the many "aggressive" ways to risk an accident on Highway 401.

from ontario

Meanwhile, others feel it is a common practice to signal drivers to move over.

"High beams are a form of visual communication and are used in a few different ways on the road. I think they’re much less obnoxious than honking over hogging the left lane," one person wrote. "Unless it’s pitch dark (with very little highway lights) and someone flashes a high-beam once or twice, are you that disorientated? Leaving them on ya sure that’s 100% dangerous behaviour, but is flashing too? I don’t remember the last time I received a flash so I can’t say, but from memory I wasn’t blinded.

One person argued it's actually a really helpful form of communication for a variety of reasons. "It lets people know to merge, that you're letting them turn, etc. I've even had trucks do it to say thank you," they wrote. "You can also use them to get other peoples' attention. Some people do it to warn drivers of radar. I did it to some idiot who almost hit me because he decided to cross the HOV lane when he wasn't supposed to because apparently, he couldn't hear me honking."

However, flashing your lights during rush-hour traffic remains a big pet peeve for some.

from ontario

One person suggested an alternative way to proactively communicate with other drivers, such as using turn signals.

"If I’m doing 125 and I’m passing a bunch of trucks, I’ll start signaling right early, so the dude behind me knows I’m gonna move over as soon as we’re done here," someone wrote.

"Besides, where am I gonna move to if there are a bunch of trucks to my right?"

One person seemed to believe that U.S. drivers are better at using the passing lane effectively.

"People in Ontario legitimately just don't know basic rules of the road and are extremely selfish. The moment you cross the border into the States the difference is staggering," they wrote. "People stay in the right lane unless they need to pass and then they get back over. People in Ontario are so self-absorbed..."

Either way, the debate definitely underscores the importance of road safety etiquette on Highway 401 and the need for drivers to be patient and considerate of others on the road — no matter what side of the fence you land on.

Rhythm Sachdeva
Associate Editor, Toronto
Rhythm Sachdeva is an Associate Editor for Narcity Media Group and is based in Toronto.
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