Flash your headlights without fear

Every once in a while, urban myths involving driving or vehicles surface, such as this one: A woman calls an auto parts store in search of a 28-ounce water pump. When the befuddled parts handler asks the make of car, she replies, “Datsun 280Z.” Funny, but not all of them are; some instill fear in motorists.

Here’s one of those from Norm: I have a question regarding flashing my headlights. I have for many years flashed my headlights if someone, for example, is coming at me with no lights on or if their high beam are in my eyes. Two different people were shocked I did it. They told me it is a gang sign and I will be in great danger if I happen to flash the wrong car. Have you heard of this?

Variations of this myth have circulated around the world for nearly three decades, Norm.

According to, a Web site that investigates such assertions, the first myth originated in Montana where a resident claimed Hells Angels bikers went after motorists who flashed their headlights at them.

Then the rumor involved black gang members in Oregon. Most recently the rumor claimed Blood street gang members drove with their headlights off and shot at the first driver to flash them.

Las Vegas Police spokeswoman Barbara Morgan confirmed that is a rumor, saying the behavior is not affiliated with gangs.

Morgan acknowledged she too flashes her lights at vehicles, but added that she might be overly cautious about doing it in a dangerous neighborhood simply because you never know what might trigger a violent reaction.

Back to our roads, Marcia’s concern is this: I live in Solera at Anthem and would like to know whether it is legal for residents in the Dewar Highlands community down at Bicentennial and Sun City Anthem parkways to make a left U-turn at the street opening on Sun City Anthem at Schaeffer Hills Drive. There is no left-turn lane for traffic to pull into to make that left U-turn. Cars making that U-turn are holding up traffic coming down Sun City Anthem in the left lane and could potentially cause a accident.

That is an understandable concern because drivers flying down Sun City Anthem might unexpectedly encounter a stopped vehicle attempting to make that U-turn, Marcia.

Yet, according to the city of Henderson, it is legal. State law requires that you have at least 500 feet of visibility to the front and rear for a U-turn to be allowed; at that location there is 600 feet of visibility.

However, the law prohibits vehicles from stopping in travel lanes so it is possible to ticket a person that stops to make the U-turn.

City engineers suggest that if there are no gaps in traffic that will allow for a continuous movement, motorists proceed north and make a left at Bicentennial and then another left at Anthem Highlands to access Dewar Highlands.

Chris is perplexed: Why is there a stop sign at the intersection of Southern Highland Parkway and St. Rose? Cars traveling south on Southern Highlands Parkway turning east on St. Rose have to stop at a stop sign. The way the road has been constructed there is no cross traffic. Do you have any clue?

The answer is two-fold Chris. The lonely little stop sign was erected for safety reasons. First, as you know, Southern Highlands Parkway does not continue south after St. Rose Parkway, but because of the grade there, it’s difficult to see that. The state’s transportation agency was concerned motorists unfamiliar with the area might zip across St. Rose into a dead end. Secondly, the left turn onto St. Rose is fairly sharp and the concern was that drivers might take it too fast. The sign might be annoying, but it’s not going anywhere.

A quick note to those of you who take the Silverado Ranch Boulevard exit off Interstate 15: I mentioned a few weeks ago this will be part of the I-15 south design-build project that is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2011. The good news is that Silverado Ranch exit is one of the first orders of business and should be remedied long before the entire project is wrapped up. And the bad news is that the construction already is causing stopped traffic to back up onto the freeway at commute times.

If you have a question, tip or tirade, call Adrienne Packer at 702-387-2904, or send an e-mail to roadwarrior@ Please include your phone number.

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