REVEALED: ‘Secret Code’ Little-Known Rules Around Aussies Police Use Road Patrol And Speed Cameras To Alert Other Drivers
Australians reveal ‘secret code’ used by motorists to alert police
Contrary to popular belief, there are no specific laws specifically requiring Australian drivers to warn other motorists that police patrols or speed cameras are nearby.
But drivers can still be fined if they follow motorists’ ‘secret code’ and flash their high beams at each other.
A Sydney woman recently sparked discussion about the practice on Reddit, after posting that another driver had warned her a speed camera was ahead ‘for the first time in what feels like years’.
Flashing your lights at another driver is something of a legal gray area.
A lively debate has raged online over the code used by motorists to warn each other that police are nearby
An Australian motorist posted on social media that an oncoming car flashed its headlights with a mobile speed camera in front.
It is against the law to drive on the road with high-beam headlights if the vehicle in front is moving in the same direction within 200 metres.
It is also an offense to flash the high beams of another oncoming vehicle within 200 metres.
In New South Wales, the maximum fine for flashing high-beam lights into traffic is $2,200. But the police will usually only issue a penalty notice of $112.
That penalty will also result in one demerit point, although in Victoria the same offense can mean three demerit points from your licence.
Law firm Astor Legal said that flashing other drivers could reasonably prove to be an example of obstructing a police officer in the performance of their duties, or even perverting the course of justice, a serious offense with a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison.
But it is considered difficult to prove in court that a car’s headlights flashing was actually an attempt to obstruct the police or pervert the course of justice.
An Aussie points out a simple loophole to get around the rule: turn your low-beam headlights on and off briefly without flashing your high beams.
It is not against the law to test your headlights on and off, no matter how close other cars are.
‘Everybody in Western Sydney does it,’ said one Aussie on Reddit.
It was clear from the Reddit debate that flashing fellow drivers to alert the police is happening all over Australia – and beyond
Speeding is the number one cause of fatal road accidents in Australia
A Queensland driver claims he has flashed his lights at other drivers for 25 years and has personal experience of the police response.
‘I remember everyone doing it. But then the police would pull people over for flashing. But it was mostly harassment from the police to prevent people from alerting others,’ they claimed.
Aussies discussing the ‘secret code’ were largely in favor of anti-riot legislation, as long as it applied to speed cameras and not policing other matters.
‘I think it’s a great thing. It represents some camaraderie among motorists,’ said one commenter.
‘Where I live everyone is freaking out. [Police are] Always hiding behind the bush,’ said another.
‘An unscrupulous worker on a motorbike did this to me the other day. An absolute legend.’
Another claimed it was ‘un-Australian’ not to warn other drivers about speed cameras.
Reddit’s response was overwhelmingly in favor of the rebel law — as long as it applied to speed cameras and not policing other matters.
But some commenters said they would never warn other motorists that police are conducting random breath tests up front
But some said they would never warn other motorists that police are conducting random breath tests up front.
‘Yeah, I don’t warn for RBTs, if they’re stupid enough to drive drunk they deserve to be caught.’