HC Deb 12 July 1967 vol 750 cc805-6
44. Mr. McNamara

asked the Minister of Transport whether she is aware that certain drivers flash their headlights during daylight with the intention of giving a signal to other road users; and if she will take steps to control this practice.

Mr. John Morris

Yes, Sir. But the flashing of headlights should be regarded as having only the same meaning as sounding the horn as an indication of the presence of a vehicle on the road and not as a signal of intention.

This advice has already been given to drivers and it will be included in the next revision of the Highway Code.

Mr. McNamara

Is my hon. Friend considering introducing legislation on this point, because it can be a very dangerous and misleading practice?

Mr. Morris

All that we are seeking to do is to ensure that the advice which was published in 1962 and 1965 will be contained in the Highway Code. There is a difference between indicating presence, on the one hand, and a code of signals, on the other. There is value in indicating presence, but it has been found that a code of signals would be dangerous.

Mr. Frederic Harris

Surely this is common practice between drivers of large lorries. It is very valuable to the drivers of such lorries to enable them to indicate that one should pass the other. This does not inconvenience anybody, so will the Minister take no notice of such a nonsensical suggestion?

Mr. Morris

This matter was looked at thoroughly in 1962 and 1965. While it can be encouraging and helpful to some, because of its ambiguities and because different people give different interpretations to it the general consensus is that this is a dangerous practice.

Mr. Blackburn

My hon. Friend says that there are ambiguities. Would he explain what it is supposed to mean? Does it mean that one can go ahead or that the other driver will be going ahead?

Mr. Morris

My hon. Friend has put his finger on the point. Different people give different interpretations to this. It has been looked at very carefully and the general view is that if a code were devised it would not be observed and it would be dangerous in practice.