Flash guys in need of a code to drive by

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NEARLY half of drivers admit to flashing their lights to warn other drivers of a speed check, according to a poll we carried out of more than 4,800 motorists.

The main reason for doing this was to save another motorist from being caught or fined.

Our poll followed the prosecution of a driver recently, who was fined £175 and ordered to pay £250 costs after warning several approaching cars of a speed check.

Nearly 70% of our respondents said that a driver should not be prosecuted for warning others.

The biggest reason for not flashing to warn of a speed check was safety: “Drivers who speed deserve to be caught and fined” and “the meaning of the flash could be misinterpreted,” were reasons which each polled a third of the votes from those who don’t flash.

However, safety was also used as a major justification for those who do flash to warn of speed checks, with nearly 20% saying they wanted to avoid a possible collision when drivers see the speed check late, and brake harshly in response.

Nearly 45% drivers feel that the Highway Code should contain a standardised code of what flashes mean.

The fact that nearly as many people use their lights to thank another driver, as those who use them to invite another driver to come through, suggests there could be confusion as to what message people are trying to get across.

Reassuringly, fewer than 10% of respondents admitted to using their lights aggressively to signal annoyance. So while the meaning of flashes is fuzzy, at least people don’t seem to feel it is an acceptable way to take out anger on other road users.

Peter Rodger, chief examiner, Institute of Advance Motorists

Transatlantic search for family

I AM doing genealogy research on my relatives in the UK, and am looking for information about Margaret Pirrie Sharpe who married John Herbert Burton.

My dad used to get letters from her, and so did I, before she entered a nursing home and then died some time in May 1987.

The last address I have for her is in Manor Avenue, Penwortham, Preston.

She was a first cousin of my father, Archibald Bennett, whose mother was Margaret McKean Bennett.

If there are surviving relatives in Lancashire or Wigan reading this, or anyone else who knew Margaret, I would be delighted to hear from them.

Frances Bennett Maddox, 1229 River Ridge Drive, Guntersville, AL 35976, USA. Email cmaddox7325@charter.net

Cash back for cut in services

HAVING read about Wigan Council reducing their services because of the financial situation, I do hope they considerably reduce the community charge to households in the borough to compensate ratepayers for the services which they will not have available to them. After all, we are paying customers.

Colin Rowlands, Woolton Close,

Ashton, Wigan