As drivers, we do a lot of rude things to each other on the road - cutting people off, flipping people off, following too closely, and driving slow in the left lane. But some things aren't just rude, they're dangerous. For instance, when you're on the freeway and a car comes at you with their brights on, it causes you to take your eyes off the road, which isn't good for anybody. Especially if it's those blinding Xenon or LED headlights, those things kind of suck even when they aren't on bright.

And what do we do when someone comes at us with their brights on? We flash our headlights to express to the other driver, 1) be mindful of your brights, and 2) you're a jerk! Montanans will also flash their headlights as a courtesy warning of an upcoming police checkpoint or danger on the road, typically a deer or animal. But is it legal to flash your brights in Montana?

According to the Missoula Police Department, yes, it is illegal to flash your high beams at oncoming traffic that is closer than 100 feet, because you impair their ability to see the road.

Advice from the Montana Highway Patrol includes:

  • Turn off high beam headlights when meeting other vehicles 1,000 feet away and when you are 500 feet behind another vehicle. Bright lights make it hard for others to see the road.
  • Headlights must be on when it is dark and any time you cannot see 500 feet ahead due to blowing dust, fog, rain or snow.
  • Headlights must be on from a half hour after sunset until a half hour before sunrise.

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