So with all the celebrating and the weather being well into nice springy weather, there are more traffic cops around and, of course, more tickets being issued.
I can't imagine anybody ever being stopped for flashing their headlights as a warning of a police car waiting by the side of the road. I mean, it's an unspoken courtesy to those that might not be as vigilant as they should be with their speed. I've done it and seen it done for as long as I can remember--and that's a long time. Maybe the police don't like it, but illegal? Can't be, can it?
Well I'm here to tell you that it is. At least, in NZ, it is. Some snot-nosed kid that we figure has been out of the Police Academy for about three weeks stopped us for exactly that today. We only got a warning, but he wrote down Hubby's name and our license number in a little notebook.
According to this newspaper article in Otago from September, we aren't the only ones and the guy in the article wasn't so lucky.
It's a great Kiwi tradition, but a Taupo man who flashed his headlights to warn another driver of a speed camera was pulled over by police.
As police yesterday announced a big increase in speeding tickets last year, Paul Gamble was driving to work on State Highway 1 between Taupo and Tokoroa when he passed a mobile speed-camera van.
"It was hidden behind a bush on a downhill stretch of road so they're clearly after someone who is just going down the hill and speeding up a bit.''
Mr Gamble, 39, said he carried on for half a kilometre and saw a vehicle coming in the opposite direction.
"I thought, `He's travelling a little bit', and did the friendly thing and gave him a flash.''
A police vehicle was behind the car and its driver pulled Mr Gamble over.
"I can't remember the exact words; it was either inappropriate or excessive use of headlights,'' he said.
It is against the law - with a penalty of $150 - to flash dazzling, confusing or distracting vehicle lights, although police say the law is used sparingly.
Mr Gamble wasn't given a ticket for that but for having only one working headlight. But he says he was still stopped on the "premise of excessive headlight use''.
He said he flashed his lights only once and did so to slow people down _ which in theory was what the speed camera was set up to do.
I know I've encountered many cultural differences that shouldn't be so different, but this is one that I can't ever see being repeated in the US. And I hope he dropped his little book in a mud puddle before he got home tonight.