Emergency vehicle lighting can be used by all sorts of vehicles, but there are certain differences that every user must be aware of, which we will talk about in this article.
Emergency vehicle lights are available to the public and can be bought by anyone. However, whether you can use them on your vehicle or not depends on your state’s laws regarding emergency lighting. In general, civilians are only allowed to use specific colors of emergency lights, which we will talk about in detail later.
First, let’s explore the different types of vehicles that can use emergency lighting:
1. Emergency vehicles
No matter how small your mini LED light bar is, if it’s red and blue, you cannot use it unless you have an emergency vehicle. Red and blue lights are designated for emergency and law enforcement vehicles only, such as police cars, fire trucks, ambulances, coastguard boats, rescue vehicles, and more.
2. Non-emergency vehicles
Vehicles that are used for construction, funeral escorts, towing, road maintenance, parking enforcement, security patrol, and the like are categorized as non-emergency vehicles. These vehicles typically use emergency lights to serve as a warning to other motorists and people nearby.
3. Private vehicles
Civilians can use emergency lights for their private vehicles to maintain safety and security on their property. Private vehicles that use emergency lights include trucks, farming equipment, security patrols, and private security agencies, among others.
4. Unmarked vehicles
Unmarked police cars also use emergency lighting to convey urgency when needed. To maintain the rider’s undercover status, law enforcement usually gets discrete emergency lighting or hideaway lights for their unmarked cars.
5. Off-roading vehicles
Riding off-road is gaining more and more popularity as enthusiasts take the sport to the next level with more capable trucks. Off-roading vehicles also use emergency lights to provide adequate illumination in dark places, as well as make other drivers aware of their presence.
Different colors of emergency vehicle lights and their meaning
As mentioned, there are only certain types of colors for emergency lights that are allowed for civilians. Here are the different colors of emergency lights and what they mean:
Red and blue
Red and blue lights convey that the journey of the driver is an urgent one, and other motorists are required to give way on the road. Hence, only emergency vehicles are allowed to use red and blue lights. However, red and blue lights aren’t always seen together. Red lights alone signify a risk-to-life situation, as in fires or accidents, while blue lights are designated for law enforcement.
Amber or yellow
Amber or yellow lights are typically used to signify “warning” or “caution.” They are commonly used by vehicles in construction, maintenance, utility, and towing, among others.
White lights are common secondary lights on vehicles. They can be used in almost any application and have little to no restrictions regarding their use for private vehicles. Thus, most civilians use white emergency lights for their cars, trucks, and farming equipment.
If you’re interested in installing emergency lights on your vehicle, it’s crucial that you know what the individual colors mean and what type of vehicles they are commonly used for. But in any case, make sure to check your local laws regarding the restrictions about emergency light use in your area before buying any.