Functions of an LED Light Bar

Posted by Extreme Tactical Dynamics on Dec 30th 2019

LED Light Bars are one of the most established and effective pieces of equipment to fit onto an emergency vehicle for the purposes of warning drivers of hazards on the road. For both indicating potential road hazards and indicating a need for drivers to make way, they allow emergency vehicles to respond to incidents as quickly and safely as possible.

When you’re fitting emergency lights and the police light bar to a vehicle that you operate, you want to make sure that you invest in lights that meet your needs. You also want to ensure you’re getting lights with the functions that are going to help you. Here, we’re going to look into the different functions of an LED light bar, explaining what they do, as well as some of the situations in which the different options may be helpful.

Flash Patterns 

LED light bars are, naturally, designed to be highly visible to those on the road, even from a significant distance. The strobe light bar is designed to alert them to differences in traffic patterns, roadway obstructions, and other dangerous conditions.

As such, the aim is to get LED Light Bars that offer a variety of flash patterns that incredibly conspicuous when turned on. As such, there should be two things in mind when looking at the flash patterns of different LED light bars:/p>

  • How well do they contrast with the surroundings? Will they be able to effectively stand out from the lights of the traffic?
  • Are they distinct and visible enough to pull drivers away from distractions, such as cell phones, roadside sights, or fiddling with their radio controls?

The colors of the LED light bar can affect how well it meets these standards, but choosing one with a wide variety of flash patterns is the wisest course. As such, it can cycle through multiple patterns, alternative, splitting colors, progressively lighting different lights, and more, at different speeds. The more advanced the patterns are, the more likely it is to stand out enough to do the job.


One of the most significant advantages of using light bars that use LED technology is that they can generate colored light much more easily than their halogen or strobe contemporaries. While other kinds of light bar use a white light paired with a colored lens to produce colored light effects, LED technology can generate lights of multiple colors right from the get go.

As such, there are LEDs available in just about every color imaginable. Furthermore, color change LED technology can allow you to change the display as and when you need it. This opens up the possibilities to make your lights much more visible depending on the situation and the surroundings. Red lights may be more visible against the natural backdrop of a rural countryside, for instance, while blue lights may be more visible in urban settings. 

As such, lights can change color depending on the circumstance. For instance, your police car light bar could use all blue lights when traveling on the road, then switch to flashing red and white when pulled over to a stop.

How you use your colored lights will be dictated by the regulations and laws in your state, however. Some colors are reserved for specific emergency services and vehicles, for instance, and the amber light bar is used generally as a tow truck light bar.

Take Down Lights 

Take down lights were previously installed using bright halogen lights, but have become available for LED light bars, as well. These lights are primarily used by the police, and rarely available to use on emergency vehicles of other kinds, so make sure you check the laws and regulations for take down lights in your state.

Put simply, take down lights are incredibly high intensity white lights that are to be fit to the front of the vehicle. You can even get take down lights on an interior led light bar. Their purpose is to produce a dazzling flash of light that is difficult for people to look at. Such such, it can offer the police an advantage in approaching or apprehending people in a dangerous situation, and prevent criminals from taking hostile action against the police since they are temporarily blinded.

In most cases, take down lights are simply bright halogen lights that are fitted to an LED light bar, rather than an LED light themselves.

Alley Lights 

As the name suggests, alley lights are designed to help vehicle operators better see and explore areas hidden in darkness. This includes alleyways and other poorly light areas in nighttime conditions.

These are auxiliary lights that are usually added to the side of police cruisers and other emergency vehicles that allow the vehicle to light up areas to both the left and the right of the vehicle. As such, the operators can spot things that may otherwise be difficult to spot, such as a suspect fleeing down an alley or someone who is hurt in a poorly lit urban area.

Headlights are very limited in just how much they can pick up from the sides, which is what makes alley lights such a valuable and versatile addition to any emergency vehicle that is permitted to carry them.

Traffic Advisor Functions 

For vehicles that spend most of their time working on or close to roadways, traffic advisor functions can be added to LED light bars to ensure that other drivers notice and can safely maneuver around them.

Traffic advisor functions can include multiple flash functions using powerful LEDs that allow the operate to guide and control traffic in as safe a way as possible. This can include alerting others on the road to potential hazards, helping other drivers know when to navigate around a vehicle and which direction to take, and to keep the vehicle’s operator and any that they are assisting safe.

Traffic advisor functions can come in a variety of sizes and with frames that can make them easy to install to any side of the vehicle. They have built-in dynamic controls that the vehicle operator can use inside or outside the vehicle as they demand.

Furthermore, traffic advisor functions are built to be programmed in a variety of ways and to be updated or switched around as needed. After all, you may find your vehicle stopped in a variety of positions on the road which may require you to be able to deliver different instructions to other drivers on how they should navigate.

As with many of the functions of an LED Light Bar, use of traffic advisor functions may be limited in your state, so check your local laws and regulations to find out if you can fit them to your vehicle.

Dual Color 

As mentioned, the ability for LED light bars to change their colors to suit their situation is impressive enough already. However, modern light bars can allow you to program your LEDs to display almost any color imaginable. This is done through the use of dual color output.

Dual color LEDs allow the lights to switch from one color to another in a moment. You don’t need to install extra lights and bulbs to switch colors, these lights can do it themselves.

This dual color is achieved by having lights of multiple colors on one chip. These are usually some mix of primary colors, such as blue, green, and red. The controls can be programmed to turn on each color at a desired intensity. This means you can not only quickly switch between each primary color, but you can also mix them to produce a light of a new color.

Dual colors allow you to have an LED light bar that switches colors on the fly, but without having to take up more space by adding more chips or bulbs to your array.

Lo Power / Hi Power 

As the name suggests, this feature allows you to adjust the power of your lights as necessary, increasing or decreasing the wattage depending on your needs at the time. Many LED strobe light bars have adjustable lights that you can operate with the flip of a switch or program to different strengths depending on your needs.

For general use in an area where maintaining visibility is easy enough, then Lo Power can ensure that you’re not blinding other drivers on the road, while also making maintaining a low energy consumption level. This can make sure you’re not draining your battery while you’re out using your LED light bar in normal circumstances.

However, when it comes to areas of low visibility, such as a winding country road or a busy street with plenty of vehicle lights to compete against, Hi Power can be precisely what you need. As the name indicates, this makes you lights significantly more powerful so that they can stand out and be more easily noticed.

Your state may have some regulations on just how powerful your lights can be, so check to make sure you’re operating within the limits of the law.

Front Operation / Rear operation/ Full operation

The direction in which your LED light bar can operate will change what kind of situations you can comfortably use it in. Some LED light bars can operate in only one direction, some can do it in both directions, and some can switch between them at will.

Front operation light bars can turn on LED lights facing the front of the vehicle. If you buy cheap emergency visor lights, they only flash to the front.  Rear operation lights can turn on LED lights facing the back of vehicle. Full operation lights can turn on LED lights facing both the back and the front. Depending on the type, it may operate both sets at once exclusively, or may be able to independently operate either set at the front or back when needed.

Make sure you get the LED Light Bar that offers all of the functionality that you need, whether it an emergency light, or an off road light bar.

Extreme Tactical Dynamics offers a wide range of LED light bar options to meet all kinds of needs. However, when it comes to fitting emergency vehicle lights of any kind, you should be aware of the laws and regulations in your state dictating what you can and cannot use. We have a state-by-state resource looking over some of the laws, but we do not offer legal advice.

Make sure that you’re choosing the lights that you’re licensed and legally allowed to use. When you know what those are, Extreme Tactical Dynamics is here to offer the supply you need.

The emergency LED Light Bar is extremely versatile and can be used in a variety of ways to match the situation and the environment. If you need help finding the LED Light Bar with the functions that you need, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team. With more than one type of led light bar for sale, we’ll be glad to help.

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