Photo by ohad*
The other day while driving home, Naomi asked me what the universal sign for “your headlights are not on, please turn them on because it’s nighttime and you’re being a complete idiot if you don’t turn them on right away”? was.
I told Naomi that I didn’t know, but that I had previously successfully managed to get drivers to turn on their headlights when I’m alongside them and signaling with my free hand in a way that also could mean “you are very talkative, you know?”
That, combined with the clueless night stealth driver’s ability to read my lips which are saying “lights, lights, lights”, but which could also be seen as mouthing nonsense, such as “like! like! like!” or “ai! ai! ai!”, has worked on several occasions.
And when you’re not alongside the stealth driver, how else could you, for his/her safety’s sake, tell them to turn on their lights. Flash your high beam at them to alert them to something? In Australia, the UK and US, high beaming someone can mean “I’m letting you have right of way, please proceed”.
In Singapore, and especially when taxi drivers are doing it, it means the opposite: “Get the fuggouttamyway cos I’m speeding up just cos you’ve turned on your indicator lights to turn and if I ram into you it’s not my fault”.
On highways in Malaysia and Australia, high-beaming cars on the opposite direction tells you there’s a speed trap up ahead.
If high beaming or honking gets the drivers’ attention and you’ve pulled up alongside them, then you can somehow indicate to them if there’s something wrong with their car, usually by pointing at their vehicle – “your door’s not shut properly, your tyre’s blown, your skirt is hanging out of your car door and is being ripped to shreds…”
But it’s difficult to point to the driver’s headlights, unless you were in front of him and craning your head around to tell him. In which case, your ability to control your own vehicle could be a little compromised.
So what is it? Is there a section in the highway code that tells you how to do that?