Emergency vehicle lights are an essential tool that millions of people need to use as part of their work or voluntary duties. However, it’s a subject that many people struggle with. Who needs amber emergency vehicle lights? Who can use them? Which lights are the best?
If you’ve found yourself asking the above questions, then read on for a detailed guide into buying, using, and making the most of amber emergency vehicle lights for a variety of purposes…
Why do people need amber emergency vehicle lights?
Lights are used for a number of reasons, including:
- Increasing visibility. When amber lights are attached to a vehicle, that vehicle is immediately more visible to both other road users and pedestrians. When working in dark or busy areas, this visibility provides an extra layer of protection.
- The use of amber lights helps to distinguish between general vehicles used by the general public and more official vehicles, such as those used for work or official voluntary tasks.
- Awareness. When used for emergency vehicles, amber lights can create awareness for other road users and encourage them to give way to a vehicle that is moving towards the scene of an accident. Additionally, lights allow other road users to know when they are approaching the scene of an accident, and to take the necessary care as they approach the area.
- Safety. The extra lighting provided by amber emergency vehicle lights can provide illumination to road crews and other workers.
Essentially, amber LED lights have to be efficient enough to meet a number of purposes and ensure effective usage for the vehicle at all times.
Who can use amber emergency vehicle lights?
The vast majority of amber lights are used for professional purposes, though some may also be used for voluntary tasks– volunteer firefighters, for example, often use amber lighting to differentiate their vehicles from standard cars.
For the most part though, amber lights are used by various professions, such as:
- Construction. Amber strobe lights for trucks and construction vehicles help to provide extra visibility to other road users and also have the ability to provide lighting for a work area.
- Wreckers. As they carry large, heavy loads, many wreckers choose to use amber lights on their vehicles to provide warning to other road users that the vehicle may not move as quickly as they expect.
- Utility vehicles. To differentiate them from standard vehicles, many professional utility vehicles choose to install amber lights.
- Security vehicles. Amber lights for security vehicles help to increase visibility and allow for extra care and caution from other road users.
- Maintenance vehicles. Maintenance vehicles that tend to move at slow speed, such as road gritters and snow plows, can benefit from amber lights to make other road users aware they are traveling particularly slowly.
- Auto-repair vehicles. Auto-repair vehicles often need to stop at the side of a road to assist a broken down vehicle, so amber lights help to increase their visibility so other road users can be sure to avoid them.
The above is a brief glimpse at the kinds of vehicles, and their applications, that may benefit from using amber lights. Essentially, if you have a task that requires extra visibility from other road users or needs to provide illumination where there is insufficient lighting, then amber lights are the best choice for the job.
Are the lights always amber?
No; in fact, the appropriate color for lights for voluntary and professional usage tend to vary state by state. There’s a handy guide to the appropriate colors for each state here.
In most cases though, you can use amber lights for warning purposes for a variety of different uses. Red and blue lights are best avoided, as these colors tend to be reserved for official emergency vehicles. By using a different color from these vehicles, you can use yours to provide essential awareness of a situation while not confusing other road users into thinking that yours is an official emergency vehicle.
If you are going to install amber lights on your vehicle, then you’re best to check with your local authority before doing so. They will be able to provide the latest, up-to-the-minute details on what color lights you can use and if the lights need to meet any specific requirements to comply with their rules and regulations.
What kind of amber lights are available?
If you’re going to install amber lights, then you will be pleased to know that there are a wide range of options to choose from that can suit all vehicles and purposes.
For the sake of clarity, we break down our amber strobe lights into the following categories:
Visor light bars are among the easiest kind of light to install and are usually powered by the cigarette lighter on your vehicle. However, don’t underestimate the power and brightness that these light bars can provide; they can still provide all the illumination you might possibly require.
Deck and dash lights offer huge power and, importantly, huge longevity. They fit to a variety of surfaces across a vehicle and have bulbs that can last for up to 100,000 hours.
Mini light bars should not be overlooked; they provide an excellent source of light and can pulse and flash as required.
Full-size bars will usually cover most, if not all, the top of your vehicle, providing complete coverage and an extra source of the light. Most of these lights are extremely powerful and come complete with a number of ‘flash patterns’ that are sure to catch the attention of those nearby. They can be used as traffic advisory systems or any other purpose that needs to take advantage of their 360° light pattern.
These lights are removable, so they are perfect for vehicles that serve other purposes and only need access to emergency lighting on rare occasions. These lights are powerful, durable, and incredibly user-friendly.
As the name suggests, these lights can be mounted to the grille of a vehicle to help provide visibility to oncoming traffic and light the way of the vehicle’s driver. Similar to led hideaway strobe lights, grille lights are slightly larger for more lighter coverage.
The majority of the lights that we sell are suitable for a variety of different purposes; be sure to read on for how to further refine your selection to your specific requirements…
Which Amber Light do you Need?
Choosing the right light for you means asking yourself a series of questions to see which is the right fit for your purposes.
“How much light do I need?”
It’s tempting to answer this with “as much as possible”, but try to keep in mind that the brightness can be a potential source of excess power consumption. The brightness of amber lights is measured in Watts and Lumens; essentially, the higher the number of Watts/Lumens, the brighter the light produced is going to be.
“How directional does the light need to be?”
If you just need lights to illuminate the path of your vehicle, then opting for a light with a TIR Lens is the best bet. The TIR lens sends out a focused beam that is seen best from one direction, which is more than suitable for ensuring you can avoid objects that are in your path. There are plenty of options if a TIR lens is suitable for your requirements, including the majority of surface mount LED lights, which are more than suitable for those on a budget.
If you need to provide a complete light solution — where the light spreads beyond the immediate direction that the light is facing — then opt for lights with a 360° visibility field, for example, the Mirage 48 TIR Light Bar.
“How much am I willing to modify my vehicle?”
If you are buying amber lights for a vehicle owned by your work company, then you can disregard this question as it is to be decided on a business level. However, if you are buying lights to modify your personal vehicle (volunteer firefighters, for example), then you will need to think about whether or not you are willing to modify your vehicle to install the light.
Many lights require direct wiring into your vehicle, making them a permanent fixture that cannot be removed– so even if you’re using your vehicle for the school run, the lights are still going to be there. If this is an issue for you, then you will be best suited by lights such as the Lynx T4-2 Interior / Exterior Light Bar, which can be mounted via suction cups, or an easy to install and remove mounting bracket and run from the cigarette lighter in your vehicle.
“Do I need a flash pattern?”
A flash pattern is predominantly found across amber light bars. Bulbs will flash individually to create a pattern, which can increase awareness and even be used for tasks such as directing traffic. If a light does not have flash pattern functionality, then it will usually just be a static light that remains lit for as long as needed.
If you do need a flash pattern, then you have plenty of options to choose from. The Blaze Core™ 40 LED Light Bar is a high-quality option that comes with 26 different flash patterns, so it will meet your needs with ease. A more budget-friendly option would be the Mirage 12 TIR LED Mini Light Bar, which offers 12 different flash patterns for a more affordable price.
If you are not sure if you will need a flash pattern for your intended purpose, then it’s usually best to err on the side of caution and buy a flashing-compatible light. These lights can also functions as solid, static lights, so you are able to achieve the best of both worlds.
“Do I need the light to be waterproof?”
The majority of lights that we sell come complete with an IP-67 waterproof rating. Some lights, such as the 912 48 Full Size LED Light Bar, have a full 100% waterproof protection. If you need full waterproofing capabilities, then carefully read the product listing to ensure this is included in your choice.
By asking yourself all of these questions, the amber lights that are most applicable to your personal circumstances should begin to emerge.
How are amber emergency vehicle lights installed?
When buying your lights, you will likely wonder about installation, so this will be factored into your decision-making process.
There are two main types of installation of amber emergency lights:
A full installation will require direct wiring into the electrical components of your vehicle and the installation of a control panel. This type of arrangement is best suited to vehicles that are used almost entirely for purposes where the light will be required, though they will work in domestic vehicles if you’re willing to make this compromise.
Many people manage to install these lights for themselves, so if you’re handy with vehicles, it may be worth giving it a try for yourself. If you are buying for a work vehicle, it’s worth asking if installation can be provided by the company or agency that you are working for. If you do have to pay for a professional installation, then do your homework and obtain quotes before agreeing a price.
An easy “installation” isn’t really an installation at all. These lights are detachable and are powered by the cigarette lighter, so you don’t need to worry about having them fitted by a professional. These are the best choice if you want your vehicle to predominantly look “normal”, but need to attach lights under specific circumstances.
If you are buying amber LED lights for the first time, understanding what you need can be confusing at times. Hopefully, the guide above has helped provide some clarity that will help you find the lights that are most suitable for your intended usage, and you can now buy with confidence that the lights you choose will be perfect for you.
Of course, if you have any further questions, then don’t be afraid to ask us for guidance!