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Unwritten rules of the road

As you gain driving experience you will discover there are conduct and etiquette conventions
followed by many motorists that won’t be found in any rulebook or guide. The question is, are
you flouting the Highway Code and could you get into trouble by following these unwritten
rules? Warning others of speed traps is a commonplace example. Often hidden and difficult to
avoid, speed cameras are located in most parts of the country. Some drivers see it as their
duty to warn others, especially if it’s a mobile manned speed trap, with a quick flash to alert
oncoming cars to slow down. While this ‘all for one, one for all’ attitude might be appreciated
in the driving community, it’s actually illegal. Deemed as ‘wilfully obstructing a constable in the
execution of his/her duty’, warning other drivers could land you with a £1,000 fine for breaking
section 89 of the Police Act 1996. A driver prosecuted for this is likely to receive a higher
penalty than the errant motorist they warned. The Highway Code is also clear: ‘Only flash
your headlights to let other road users know that you are there,’ and not to attempt ‘to convey
any other message’. It’s unlikely that a justification of ‘you did it to slow traffic down for safety’
will wash as a defence. This is one unwritten rule that’s not worth the risk.