Associate the Right Color Lights with a Response Vehicle
Over time the different colored lights on emergency vehicles and other work vehicles have developed a particular meaning for the general public. For instance, an Emergency Vehicle Light is typically a combination of red and blue. These lights provide a visual warning to pedestrians and other drivers on the road that a specific car or truck is coming down the roadway.
Whether you own one of these vehicles or just want to be more informed about what happens out on the road, it is helpful to know what colors are traditionally associated with specific purposes.
What Colors Are Associated with an Emergency Vehicle?
If you are looking to indicate that a vehicle is used for emergency response, red is almost certain to be the color you need. Across the United States, red lights are a sign of EMTs, fire trucks, and other types of emergency vehicles. In fact, red lights in combination with blue are the color used for police and fire vehicles around the world. The exception to this rule is that Europe and the United Kingdom only use blue lights on the exterior of most emergency vehicles.
It is important to keep in mind those red lights on the back of a car or truck can indicate to other drivers that the vehicle is moving in reverse. For this reason, many emergency vehicles only use red in combination with another color or when flashing. However, in some states, it is acceptable to have a solid red light on the front of an ambulance or similar truck. For instance, it is actually required by New York law that an emergency response vehicle has red lights affixed to the front and sides.
What Color Should Go on a Tow Truck?
The right color lights for a tow truck are actually one of the more complicated colors to determine. This is because different states have different requirements and laws regarding the color allowed for towers. In the states of Washington and Texas, red is allowed to be used for tow trucks, while other states require tow trucks to obey the same rules as utility vehicles and only display yellow or amber lights.
What Does the Color Blue Mean?
In the United States, red is the traditional color of warning or danger. However, this is hardly true for the rest of the world. Blue was the often-used color on vehicles responding to medical or criminal emergencies. The reason red was avoided by European countries and elsewhere was that it already had specific meaning for ocean vessels. Thus, it was a poor choice for transportation on land.
Therefore, blue became a sign of danger that is still used today. Across the United States, flashing blue and red lights are the indication of a police vehicle, but America doesn’t have the same deep association of blue with danger, and many states allow everything from tow trucks to snow plows to display blue.
Other Colors of Importance
Certain other colors have developed a specific meaning in the United States.
Most people associate the color purple with a funeral procession, and a number of funeral homes have sought permission to place purple lights on the front or sides of a hearse. Additionally, in some states, it is allowed to have purple lights on any cars involved in a funeral procession, which makes it easier for other drivers to recognize the start and end of a procession as it heads from the church to the graveyard.
Furthermore, the color green has developed a wide array of meanings. It is often the color used on vehicles utilized for the security of nuclear facilities, gas pipelines, and similar areas. It provides a subtle warning to individuals that enter property with these utilities or purpose that the area is heavily protected and monitored. Green is also the color of counter-terrorism across the country. Vehicles that are used to apprehend potential terrorists have this color, as do security teams on property that is more likely to have an attack.
Buying the Right Lights for Your Vehicle
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