Why Do People Flash Their Headlights In Sim Racing

You may have been in a race and seen someone sitting 3-feet off your bumper, flashing their headlights like a mad man. If you don’t know what to do it can be pretty unnerving! Are they angry? Are they saying hello? Are they spelling out the lyrics of their favorite song in morse code?

When racers flash their headlights it usually means only one thing, and that is “move out of my way”. Depending on the situation this can have slightly different tones though. If you are a lapped car or the car behind you is in a faster class then flashing headlights will be a signal to let you know that they’re passing and to keep out of the way. If you are racing a car for position and they start flashing their headlights, then it’s generally considered pretty rude to do so and saying that you are too slow.

Is Flashing Your Headlights Considered Rude In Sim Racing?

In sim racing, it all comes down to the situation and context as to whether someone flashing their headlights at another driver is considered rude or not.

There are really only a small handful of situations where you’ll see driving flashing their headlights behind you and they are:

  • If the car behind you is racing for position
  • If it is a multiclass race and the car behind you is in a faster class
  • You are a lapped car and the car behind you is a lap (or more) up
iracing night race with headlights on

Out of the three situations mentioned, a car that is in a faster class flashing their headlights behind you and a car that is a lap up on you flashing their headlights have the same meaning and are considered perfectly fine.

All these drivers are telling you is that they are coming through and to please let them pass by and considering you’re not racing them for position then this is completely acceptable.

If the car behind you is on the same lap and the same class as you then that means that you are racing for positions and that if they start flashing their headlights at you then it would generally be considered rude. It has the same meaning as the previously mentioned situations but they are essentially telling you that you’re too slow, or even worse they are trying to distract you into crashing or making a mistake so that then get past you.

What Should You Do When Someone Flashes Their Headlights At You?

If someone comes up behind you and you see them flashing their headlights, it can be a bit nerve-racking as to what you are supposed to do.

Looking back at the previous section where I mentioned the different situations that drivers might flash their headlights at you, will depend on what you do next.

If the car behind you that is flashing their headlights is either on a higher lap to you (that is, you’re a lap or more down) or the car behind you is in a faster class than you and you are not racing them (GTE vs LMP1 for example) then you should, by all means, let those drivers pass you when it is safe to do so with as little compromise to your or their race.

sim racing night race with flashing headlights

The other scenario is the driver that’s sitting behind thinking that they’re the next Lewis Hamilton and is trying to tell you to get out of the way because you are too slow. What you do in this situation is entirely up to you.

If you are just trying to race your race and you know that they are actually much quicker than you then feel free to let them go by with as little drama as possible. It’s much better that you finish your race then get wrecked by someone that’s being impatient.

Having said that though, it’s a race and if you want to defend that position then, by all means, go for it. There are no rules that stipulate that you must let them past providing that you are going at a snail’s pace, so get your elbows out and make that car as wide as possible. If they want to pass you then make them work for it.

The final thing to remember is that if you are in the situations where you are racing for position and the driver is flashing their headlights at you, to try and not get distracted by them. I have heard many sim racers before say that they flash their headlights to distract the driver in front in hopes that they’ll make a mistake.

Don’t let it get to you, remain calm, and do what you think is right for the situation. Lossing a place is better than not finishing the race!

Wrap Up

Whilst it can be a daunting experience when someone comes up behind you flashing their headlights, just remember to keep calm and read the situation.

If they are a car in a faster class than you, or they are a car that is a lap or more upon you, then simply get out of their way when it is safe to do so and let them go by. Flashing headlights in this situation are just to make the driver aware that the other car is there and that they are coming through.

If the car flashing their headlights at you is racing you for position then this is generally considered a pretty rude thing to do and usually means that they think that they’re much faster than you or that you are going too slow. Read the situation and decide what you want to do by either letting them pass or defend. At the end of the day, it is a race and you’re well within your right to race them for that position.

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