Know the Road with the CHP: Can I flash my brights at someone if their lights are off?

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- An ABC30 viewer wanted to know: if someone is driving towards me without their lights on at night, can I flash my brights at them?

"This is becoming more and more of an issue because newer cars have automatic lights and daytime running lights," said Sgt. Brian Pennings with the California Highway Patrol. "Oftentimes you'll see drivers driving down the roadway without their headlights or taillights illuminated, and they honestly don't have any idea that the lights are not on."

"The vehicle code does not specifically address your question. What it does say is that if you're within 300 feet of a vehicle in front of you traveling in the same direction, you shall use your low beam lights, and if you're within 500 feet of an oncoming vehicle, you shall use your low beam lights," Pennings said.

"So with that in mind, the answer to your question is: technically, it's illegal," he said.

"Something else you could possibly do instead is turn your lights on and off to get that drivers attention, and hopefully they realize their lights are off," Pennings added.

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