Flashing lights to alert drivers to speed zones is legal

Dear Heloise: I work in a small township in a residential area. The police are out often, looking for speeders and people driving unsafely. After I pass an officer, I will FLASH MY LIG- HTS at oncoming cars to remind the driver to slow down and be aware of their surroundings.

Of course, people should always drive safely, but I want to help other drivers be more in the moment and be more courteous on the road. What do you and your readers think about this? — Michael B. in Central Pennsylvania

Michael, this can be a touchy topic. Most research indicates that it is legal to flash your lights to warn drivers of monitored speed zones; in fact, some states consider it protected free speech!

Some officers, however, could cite you for misusing your lights. The bottom line is that safety always is the most important thing, and that is ultimately what the police are out to ensure. — Heloise

Dear Heloise: I make my own draft blockers. I take a mismatched sock (who doesn’t have those?), insert a paper towel or toilet-tissue roller in the sock (to use as a funnel) and pour in dried beans or popcorn kernels almost to the top. Tie a knot, and you’re done.

Line ’em up and place at the base of drafty doors. — Mary S., Hammond, Ind.

Great way to save those energy dollars! — Heloise

Dear Readers: Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa are quickly approaching. What are some fast fixes for the holiday frenzy? Prep and planning are key.

* When giving toys and games, make sure you include the correct size and quantity of fresh batteries with the gift.

* Save all instructions, warranties, receipts, packing slips and other paperwork associated with the gift until you’re sure it’s a keeper.

* Unique wrapping paper makes a special gift all the more special. Popular papers: Vintagey sheet music for music makers; paper folded maps for travelers; and the colorful Sunday comics make great wrapping paper for a child’s gift.

* Make beautiful gift tags from last year’s greeting cards.

* Finally, relax and enjoy this time with your family and friends.

— Heloise

Dear Heloise: Here’s how I use the tons of candy canes that are around this time of year:

As stirrers for coffee, tea and hot chocolate.

Crush and sprinkle over ice cream.

Add to cookie dough and brownie batter (crush thoroughly).

Add bits to frosting for cupcakes and cakes.

Take note of all the yummy flavors, not just peppermint.

— Amy A. in California