Why Amber Warning Lights?

PART 1: Amber Warning Lights Will Save First Responder Lives

The human eye is a phenomenal organ because it can distinguish between between 7 and 10 millions hues, tones, and shades of color, all within the wavelength of about 400 to about 700nm, nanometers.  And of all the visible colors the eye can see, yellow/amber is picked up first, remembering that white is the presence of all colors. It is no wonder that yellow school buses, amber caution beacons, and amber warning lights are used to catch the attention of people. Because more light is reflected by bright yellow, it stimulates the eye more than any other making it stand out.

One way to measure colors is by their wavelengths, another is by frequency. Our eyes can only see a very small range of visible light on the electromagnetic spectrum. The human eye does not have the ability to see infrared or ultraviolet radiation.  Nor can it see X-Rays, Gamma Rays, or Microwaves.  All of these are part of the electromagnetic spectrum and have specific wavelengths; they span a wider range than does visible light which has a very short span.

Yellow/Amber on the Light Spectrum

So where does the color YELLOW fall on the light spectrum? The answer is: Almost right in the middle at 570 nm at the peak of the electromagnetic graph which makes it one of the strongest perceived colors.  When considering this fact, it is wise to use amber flashing lights to warn passersby. The reason being that amber light is more visible than either red or blue. RED is the traditional warning color, but on the light spectrum it measures at 650nm almost to the limit of the visible range. The same holds true with blue which is at the opposite end of the light bar; it is measured at 475nm. Our cultural preference, however, is to use red for danger and blue for police even though there are other colors that are seen at a greater distance, like green.


There is a strong cultural influence entangled with the psychology of color.  Green is not used for danger, nor does red ever mean ‘GO.’  Amber means caution--slow down, or in traffic lights it signals the end of a cycle.  Amber flashing warning and traffic advisory lights are recommended by Master Sergeant Karczewski when directing motorists at the scene of an accident.  The Illinois Study is just one that has been conducted by various states around the USA, and with it, only limited information in a specific area has been obtained.  Valuable results from numerous studies must be compiled and assessed in order to understand the complex facets of selecting, placing, and using of any warning lights, regardless of the color.

ETD Has Just the Right Traffic Advisor Light Bar

Extreme Tactical Dynamics has exactly the right size Traffic Advisor Light bar with amber flashing lights; just what you’ll need. Bars can be mounted on the roof of the police car or even on the inside to the front and back windows by using suction cups.  Interior light bars always include flashback shields. Take a look at the The Chameleon 8 TIR Dual Color LED Traffic Advisor Light Bar or the The Mirage 48" TIR Full Size LED Light Bar  These are some of ETD’s most versatile Traffic Advisors programmed with Amber Flashing Lights to direct the traffic for you.  Stay safe and out of the road; let our Traffic Advisors move motorists along for you.


Further Reading



PART 1: Amber Warning Lights Will Save First Responder Lives