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Are Flashing Headlights At Oncoming Car That’s Speeding Ethical?

June 8, 2012

If you are like me then one of the continuing columns that always gets a Sunday read is The Ethicist in The New York Times.  The varity of questions is really astounding, and the responses are always so—well–ethical.  Back home on Sundays I often would read the better letters to my Mom in the kitchen and we would ponder the advice given in the paper.

The New York Times Magazine has named Chuck Klosterman its new Ethicist. The Atlantic Wire reports that Klosterman confirmed the news via email, writing, “This is a job I’ve wanted for 10 years. I don’t claim to be more ethical than anyone else, or even more ethical than the average person. But I love thinking about these types of problems, and I’ll try to be interesting. We’ll see what happens.”

His writings begin on Sunday.

I prime the pump a bit with a question that will be addressed this weekend.

While I was motoring home on a country road, a passing driver flashed his lights at me — roadspeak for “cop ahead.” I’m not much of a speeder, but I was nevertheless glad for the heads up. Still, I began to wonder about the ethics of this practice. Flashing my lights at an oncoming car that’s speeding should cause that person to slow down — a good thing. But if that person were habitually heavy-footed or intoxicated or on the lam from a bank heist, such a warning could prevent a desirable traffic stop. Thoughts? DAVID CRANE, MASSACHUSETTS

One Comment
  1. jeff permalink
    June 15, 2012 7:50 PM

    I think that flashing your lights at oncoming cars is quite ethical. if the intent of the police is to slow people down then flashing your lights is ethical and even the cops should agree. If the intent of the police is to generate revenue by catching speeders, then it is still ethical because we drivers are not a revenue source that local governments should be able to tap with speed traps every time they need more cash. Is it safety or cash?

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