Is This “Friendly” Gesture Illegal While Driving In Montana?
Most of us were raised to be kind and courteous toward others. Maybe that means holding the door open for someone else, saying "please" and "thank you", or just giving someone a heads-up.
Here's a perfect example, you're driving down one of Montana's roads and an oncoming vehicle flashes its brights at you to let you know that one of our lawmen or women is up the road, thus giving you a chance to make sure you are obeying the posted speed limit.
I mean, most of us will certainly appreciate that, but, is it legal or illegal?
Well, you see, that's where it gets a little tricky. According to the law, the answer to whether it's legal or illegal is yes. I should probably be a little more specific, it really comes down to your location.
For instance, in many places across the United States, it's completely legal to warn oncoming traffic that there is a law enforcement presence ahead with a simple flash of the headlights.
However, here in Montana, that's not the case according to Montana Code. Montana Code Annotated Title 61-9-226 states the following:
It is illegal to flash any lights on a vehicle unless it indicates a turn, such as your rear turn indicators, or unless it's to indicate a vehicular hazard.
Ok, so according to the way it's written, that means you can't flash your lights to warn folks about police, but wouldn't that also mean that you can't flash your lights to let people know that they need to turn on theirs?
We've all been driving on a bad Montana weather day, or at night and let someone know that they needed to turn their headlights on, right? So is that illegal as well? It would seem so.
While I would never encourage anyone to break the law, I would be willing to bet that most of your fellow Montanans wouldn't be too upset with you if you continued to give them a friendly heads-up in certain situations.