Although you may have never really noticed it, or perhaps just not thought about it, different colors in the flashing light systems and lightbars used by emergency response vehicles and work crews have different meanings. Blue lights in lightbars and beacons tend to be used by law enforcement vehicles and represent authority and legal power – these are used to pull other vehicles over on the road or to communicate that an official police presence is conducting business and that slow movement is required. Red lights in flash bars and beacons tend to represent emergency response for life-threatening injuries and are used by ambulances and fire control vehicles.
When it comes to amber lightbars, these are normally used by work crews performing road work for municipalities. Amber lightbars are also used by tow trucks extricating vehicles from sticky situations, and by delivery trucks such as UPS or Federal Express or even the United States Postal Service. They communicate that a vehicle is stopped to conduct some form of business and that one should be on the lookout for workers on the road or entering or exiting their vehicle. Not as “threatening” as the blue lightbar or as dire as the red lightbar, an amber lightbar brings the driver’s attention to the matter of workers on the road or stopped to engage in activity.
These lighting systems help to save lives and prevent accidents, and all work-related vehicles that make frequent stops or engage in labor on public roads should employ an amber lightbar for safety and security. Tow trucks, buses, delivery trucks, road crew vehicles and construction equipment should be equipped with them at all times.