We've all either done it or had it happen to us.  You're driving down a 2 lane highway late at night and you forget to switch to your low beams and an oncoming driver flashes his lights at you.  It's a common practice in North Dakota.  Sometimes right in your face, and as you know that can be dangerous for both drivers.  Getting flashed at so close can temporarily blind you and bad things can happen, like driving off the road.  Not flashing at the driver can blind you as he or she approaches.  There's another term for this known as an "optical horn."

So I decided to do a little investigative reporting and as it turns out, this is illegal in North Dakota, mostly.  The North Dakota Century Code reads as follows. In North Dakota, when an oncoming vehicle is within 500 feet, high-beam flashing for any length of time (including momentary flashes) and for any purpose at night is illegal under N.D.C.C. Section 39-21-21.

There are other reasons why people "flash" their lights at other vehicles.  One could be to warn other drivers of potential hazards such as a deer in the ditch, or you're approaching a speed trap with law enforcement.  I personally have done this to warn drivers of a herd of deer on the edge of a field, that could decide to play animal hockey with their car.  I've also had people do the same for me, which I greatly appreciated.  Another is to flash your lights at a vehicle that has no lights on.

Yep, it's ILLEGAL to flash your lights at somebody in North Dakota if your vehicles are within 500 feet of each other.  500 feet is longways.  A football field and another 2/3rds.  So, yes you can be pulled over for doing this.  It's considered a form of aggressive driving.


 

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