We've all been there. It's after sunset and another vehicle flashes its headlights in your direction. This could mean anything from a speed trap nearby, bad road conditions ahead, or even crashed cars on the roadway ahead.

Sometimes it can be helpful, other times, downright annoying. But the question is: when, if ever, is flashing your headlights legal in the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes?

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Credit: Alexander Jawfox via Unsplash
Credit: Alexander Jawfox via Unsplash

So, What Does The Law in Minnesota Say?

 (a) Flashing lights are prohibited, except:

(1) on an authorized emergency vehicle, school bus, bicycle as provided in section 169.222, subdivision 6, road maintenance equipment, tow truck or towing vehicle as provided in section 168B.16, service vehicle, farm tractor, self-propelled farm equipment, rural mail carrier vehicle, or funeral home vehicle;

(2) on any vehicle as a means of indicating a right or left turn, or the presence of a vehicular traffic hazard requiring unusual care in approaching, overtaking, or passing; or

(3) as otherwise provided in this section.

(b) All flashing warning lights must be of the type authorized by section 169.59, subdivision 4, unless otherwise permitted or required in this chapter.

(c) A stop lamp or signal lamp is prohibited from projecting a glaring or dazzling light, except for:

(1) strobe lamps as provided under subdivision 8 or section 169.59, subdivision 4; or

(2) a school bus equipped with a supplemental warning system under section 169.4503, subdivision 31.

-Revisor Minnesota Website

So, there you have it. Even if another vehicle has its brights on, you're technically not allowed to flash your brights at it.

This law varies from state to state. For example, in South Dakota, it does not appear to be illegal to flash your brights at another vehicle. In Iowa, it appears that there is also no law preventing you from flashing your headlights, but if your flashing is interfering with the work of law enforcement, it could be enough for them to pull you over.

This is where common sense applies. If you are warning another driver of a potential accident or road hazard, you should be in the clear. If you're doing it out of annoyance or spite, you could be in trouble with law enforcement.

Story Source: Revisor Minnesota Website

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