LED Light Bars For Rural Driving: The Pros and Cons To Consider (+ the Must-Have Features To Look For!)

Posted by Extreme Tactical Dynamics on Mar 26th 2022

According to the US Census Bureau, around 1 in 5 Americans - or nearly 20% of the population - lives in what’s called Rural America, or the rural areas of the United States territory. And, as the Covid-19 pandemic triggered an exodus to the country, city living is losing its appeal for many, thus causing an increase of people choosing to live in rural areas.

Undeniably, living away from the hectic city centers has its advantages - including more living space, more supportive communities, and more laid-back lifestyles.

At the same time, living away from urban areas has its challenges. These include:

  • Poorly lit areas and long, dark driveways
  • More challenging road conditions for vehicles
  • Lack of public transportation
  • Emergency departments relying on volunteers

Whether you are looking to illuminate the road ahead of you when travelling to your rural home, transform your car into an emergency response vehicle, or help the local community manage emergencies, a LED light bar is an essential asset for your vehicle.

In this guide by the Extreme Tactical Dynamics team, you can find out more about the pros and cons of investing in high-quality LED light bars for your vehicle. And, don’t forget to check out the features to look for in your next LED light bar model!

Advantages of Affordable LED Light Bars

Undoubtedly, LED light bars can be an important tool for motorists and home responders everywhere in the country, including in well-light urban areas. Indeed, just some of the functions of LED light bars include:

  • Flash patterns and strobing lights can attract attention and alert the public
  • They can be effective alley lights to see better in poorly illuminated areas
  • They can be used to assist traffic diversion and evacuation operations

In particular, rural areas don’t always benefit from public street lighting, transportation systems, and career emergency departments, which make installing a LED light bar on your vehicle even more advantageous. Discover some of the benefits of this investment below.

Great To Illuminate Poorly-Lit Areas

Off Road Light Bars

If you are often driving through dark rural locations that don’t benefit from public street lights, you might be concerned about your safety. And, for more than a reason! A study conducted by the Minnesota Department of Transportation highlights the connection between street light quality and nighttime driving safety.

LED light bars can be a straightforward alternative to increase the brightness of your car’s front or rear lights. Thanks to the powerful light emitted by LED bars, you can illuminate the car’s entire surrounding area. This makes light bars essential in more than one situation:

  • When looking to illuminate a dark alley
  • To brighten up a dark road without street lighting
  • When looking to illuminate an emergency scene
  • When traveling down long, narrow, and challenging driveways

An Economical Way to Increase Safety

If the main reason why you wish to add a light bar to your vehicle is to increase its lights’ lumens - or candlepower, in this case - LED light bars are an affordable and efficient choice.

Instead of replacing your car’s light bulbs or installing new lights at the front or rear end, light bars can help you keep the road in front of you illuminated with just a minimal expense!

In particular, LED lights are an invaluable addition when traveling through off-road trails. While the lights part of the Original Equipment Manufacturer - or OEM - of your car might be your baseline, LED lights are essential to see obstacles ahead of you in advance, safely travel on off-road trails, and reduce the risk of accidents.

Additionally, most high-quality light bars are designed to offer multiple light options, including flood or spotlight modes.

Can Turn A Home Responder’s Car Into an Emergency Vehicle

Home responders, such as volunteer firefighters, cover important roles in creating safer communities everywhere in the country. But, in particular, they are the backbone of emergency services in rural areas!

And, while LED light bars might be important for home responders across the nation, they are of particular importance for those responding to emergencies in rural areas.

Indeed, outside of city centers, communities don’t always benefit from fully-staffed career fire or EMS departments. Because of this, it isn’t surprising that the higher the rural population of a state is, the higher the number of volunteer responders.

However, volunteer firefighters, EMS, and Law Enforcement personnel often find themselves on the frontline of emergencies that happen in rural areas - without the training and tools reserved for career officers. As a result, over half of firefighter fatalities involve a volunteer, and 13% relate to the use of a private emergency vehicle.

Tools such as temporary LED light bars can protect volunteers traveling to an emergency site by:

  • Requesting the right of way from other motorists
  • Providing a visual cue for other drivers that you are responding to an emergency
  • Illuminate the road ahead
  • Divert traffic around the emergency scene
  • Better illuminate a rural emergency scene

LED light bars used to transform your family, utility, or work vehicles into an emergency vehicle should meet the municipality’s guidelines regarding size, brightness, mount, and colors.

Highly Versatile, Sustainable, and Durable

Depending on the kind of LED light bars you have invested in, you can expect between 30,000 and 60,000 hours of light - which, regardless of how you use your light bar, can last you through the entire vehicle’s lifespan!

Thanks to the unparalleled performance of LED bulbs, you can count on a reliable light source in any situation, no matter whether you are responding to an emergency call or you are traveling to your rural home at the end of a day at work.

Drawbacks of LED Light Bars

As we have seen above, LED light bars installed on your vehicle are a must-have accessory if you travel through or live in rural areas. However, not all LED light bars are street legal, and there are some drawbacks to be aware of when making this modification to your car’s OEM.

While these downsides shouldn’t stop you from making an investment that could increase your road safety and driving experience, they are definitely something to be aware of!

Aftermarket Lights Need to be in Line With Local Regulations

LED Off Road Light Bars

Most high-quality LED lights are street legal and can be mounted on most vehicles. However, you should never assume that a certain type of light is legal in your state or municipality.

Indeed, many states introduced specific requirements for aftermarket lights that are added to a vehicle. These specifics may limit your LED light bar color, candlepower, mount, or features to prevent them from creating confusion among other drivers and keep you safe.

For example, emergency services use specific color patterns - which are usually a combination of strobe lighting and amber, red, blue, or green lights.

In this State directory by Extreme Tactical Dynamics, you can check each municipality’s statute and make sure that the lights you have opted for are legal in your state.

They Require Proper Set-Up and Training

Once you have bought a LED light bar for your vehicle, there are a few more factors to consider:

  • If you are using your LED light bar to transform your car into an emergency vehicle, make sure you have undergone the necessary standardized training for home responders
  • Powerful LED light bars need to be set up so that they don’t blind other motorists and they are safe to use on most roads
  • Be mindful when using your LED light and driving from a rural to an urban area! In urban areas, a powerful LED light bar can confuse and blind other drivers.

Might Not Be the Best Choice in All Driving Conditions

LED light bars are an excellent choice regardless of where you are living in the US. These lights are sturdy, powerful, and able to withstand considerable drops in temperature. However, in certain conditions, you might also need to have a backup light.

For example, in the case of snow and ice, your LED lights will not create enough heat to melt it. This means that if you leave your emergency vehicle with the LED lights on in the snow, ice can soon cover them, making them less effective. Additionally, they might not create enough light for you to see clearly in wintery conditions.

All the Factors To Consider When Buying a LED Light Bar For Rural Driving

Now that you know all the advantages and drawbacks of installing a LED light bar for rural driving, let’s look at the factors to consider when buying a LED light bar:

  • Be mindful of other drivers - LED light bars can increase your safety on the road. But powerful or improperly mounted lights can blind other drivers and create a road hazard. Make sure to get your lights professionally checked and installed.
  • Cheap LED light bars aren’t always low-quality ones - not all cars need a full-size LED light bar. If you are looking for a more affordable option, check out mini or visor bars.
  • Always check your local regulations - light bars are not legal in every state, and you should always double-check that you are not going against your municipality’s law. You should also make sure that the LED light bar you invest in has a DOT certificate.
  • Choose mount and type - LED light bars can be temporary or permanent, and they can be mounted on flat surfaces or on the grille.

Find a Custom LED Light Bar Solution for Your Vehicle at Extreme Tactical Dynamics

Ultimately, it all depends on how you are planning to use your vehicle. For example, if you are only looking to illuminate your home’s driveway when getting back from a day at the office, an inexpensive, mild or mini LED light bar is all you need. But if you are a volunteer firefighter looking to turn your car into an emergency response vehicle to drive down poorly illuminated roads, you will need a more powerful set of lights.

Check out the full catalog of LED light bars at Extreme Tactical Dynamics to find a custom solution to your needs.

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