Ambulances require bright and recognizable flashing lights when driving to their destination. Without them, emergency teams would be unable to transport patients quickly for immediate care.
The type of lights an emergency vehicle uses can vary based on the type of vehicle, volunteer status, and placement options on the vehicle. Be sure to choose the right type of lights for your ambulance based on your specific needs and vehicle model.
Types of Emergency Vehicle Lights for Ambulances
Emergency vehicles use different lights depending on the department. For ambulances, these three types of lights are the most common:
Ambulance LED Light Bars
LED light bars provide bright visibility while using less energy. These efficient lights tend to be more durable and weatherproof, making them the option with the highest investment, in most cases.
Ambulance Strobe Lights
Strobe lights provide a very bright option that are easy to see at a distance and in various weather conditions. The price point is often lower compared to the other options, but they can only be used in moderation when combined with other lights.
Ambulance Halogen Lights
Halogen lights are strong bulbs that produce a warm glow and are effective through inclement weather conditions such as rain. These lights are cost effective, but they may be fragile and need replacements often due to their high energy consumption.
Advantages of LED Lights for Ambulances
LED lights are the most commonly used lights for ambulances for the following reasons:
LED lighting stands out compared to other sources of lights on the road. Drivers who may not hear the initial siren will see the vehicle's warning lights from a distance and through road conditions like fog or rain.
Ambulances can use flashing features on their LED warning lights to create immediate awareness of a medical emergency occurring.
Flashing bright lights help drivers understand the situation at hand and move onto the shoulder of the road. This allows the ambulance to arrive at the emergency site or medical facility more quickly.
Ambulance Light Colors
Ambulances and other emergency vehicles use a variety of colored lights depending on their primary function.
Forward facing red lights are commonly associated with emergency vehicles like ambulances and fire trucks.
White lights are usually used in conjunction with another color on emergency vehicles, including ambulances, fire trucks, and police cars.
Other Emergency Light Colors
Based on state regulations, some other emergency light colors you may see on the road include:
Other Emergency Response Vehicle Lights
Ambulances are not the only types of vehicles that use LED light bars to increase visibility. Other types of emergency vehicles that require emergency lights include the following:
Snow plows often use amber LED lights to help drivers recognize them and maintain their distance. LED lighting provides a bright and durable option for snow plows to rely on regardless of weather conditions.
Like ambulances, EMT vehicles utilize flashing red and white LED lights to grab the attention of drivers. This enables EMT drivers to arrive at their destination and provide the immediate medical care necessary.
To alert drivers of their presence, security vehicles commonly use amber LED light bars that have high visibility. Using these light bars helps deter criminal activity and make people feel safe.
Fire trucks use flashing red and white LED lights for similar reasons as ambulances. Fires must be addressed quickly, and bright flashing lights with sirens allow firefighters to arrive at emergency locations quickly.
Tow trucks are equipped with amber light bars on top of the vehicle and other smaller lights around the crane portion of the vehicle, creating awareness for the vehicle being towed to help other motorists avoid potential hazards.
Based on the area and position, volunteer responders use different LED light bars. For example, volunteer firefighters use white and red lights to indicate the urgency of their work and their connection to the fire department.
Other Emergency Vehicle Accessories
As important as the LED light bar is for first responders, emergency vehicles often use other accessories to help them get to their destination safely and quickly.
Drivers unable to see lights flashing as an ambulance approaches will hear a loud, recognizable siren that ensures all traffic is aware of the situation.
These LED light bars rest above the windshield on the interior of an emergency vehicle and use flashing colors to make the vehicle more visible to other drivers.
Surface Mounts for Lights
Surface mount LED lights are attached to the exterior of your vehicle. You can install these lights on your grille, roof, bumper, or wheel well to increase visibility.
Frequently Asked Questions About Ambulance Lights
What color are the lights on ambulances?
Ambulance lights are typically red and white.
What does it mean when an ambulance is silent with lights on?
If an ambulance lights are on but the siren is off, it's typically due to the patient inside feeling stressed, the response team experiencing discomfort from the noise, or there is a clear path through traffic resulting in no need for the siren.