Emergency Vehicle Lighting

 
 Picture: Pixabay via Pexels.com

Picture: Pixabay via Pexels.com

Imagine you’re driving down the highway. Even if your radio is too loud to hear any sirens, the first thing you’d often notice the are colourful lights flashing in your rear or side view mirrors. It doesn’t matter what colour those lights are, the moment you see them you instinctively know to move out of the way.

Did you know that these lights carry different meanings according to their colour? Let’s examine a few of the more common lights being used by emergency vehicles on roads today.


Blue-coloured lights

Emergency vehicles with blue-coloured lights tend to make people feel just a little bit nervous and move their vehicle out of the way quicker, and with good reason. Emergency lights of this colour tend to be used by law enforcement agencies, most commonly the police. So if you’re about to be pulled over for a traffic offence, these will be the lights you’ll see behind you right before you do. If these lights go past you, however, you may instead feel a sense of relief.


In some countries, blue lights on police cars are also used alongside other colours like white strobe lights for instance.

Red-coloured lights

Red-coloured lights on the other hand are typically used on emergency services vehicles like ambulances and fire trucks. Seeing emergency lights with this colour, also used in conjunction with yellow or white coloured lights, communicates to drivers all around that the emergency vehicle is on the way to help people in dire need, such as in a fire or a medical emergency.

Yellow-coloured lights

Lights with these colours tend to be more common, and usually do not communicate that there is an immediate emergency taking place. Instead, what this colour does is that it brings people’s attention to the vehicle because it might pose a risk to them. Examples of this include large tanker trucks and also smaller vehicles such as forklifts used in factories or warehouses. Seeing lights of this colour doesn’t necessarily mean that you should get out of their way, since it does not communicate an emergency situation. Instead, it just urges you to practice more caution around the vehicle using it.

Other colours

There are other colours also used in conjunction with the colours mentioned above. White is a common one because it helps to illuminate a particular area where the vehicle may be travelling, but on the open car accessories market there are also other colours like green-coloured lights that might also be used. Green-coloured lights are perhaps used for vehicles on private property, such as security guards in a gated community, but these are not commonly used on public service vehicles like police cars or fire trucks.

Light placement

Flashing lights, be it for emergency use like the red and blue lights, or non-emergency use like yellow and green, can be mounted on a vehicle in a number of different ways. The most commonly seen application of flashing lights is on the roof of the car, either in the form of strobe lights or light sticks.

In some cases, lights can also be placed within the car and mounted on the front and rear windscreens for added concealment.

For added concealment, such as with undercover or unmarked police vehicles, flashing lights can also be mounted inside the grill of the car which makes it visible only when the lights are actually activated.