Skip to content
factors tow truck LED lights

Key Factors in Choosing Tow Truck LED Warning Lights

While many people naturally connect the use of LED emergency and warning lights primarily with first responders like police and firefighters, these are not the only entities who may utilize these products to great effect. Another major group here is tow truck drivers, who regularly utilize warning lights as they carry out various important tasks as part of their roles.

At LED Equipped, we’re here to offer a huge range of emergency LED lights and similar products for numerous entities, including LEDs for tow trucks, snow plows and other heavy-duty vehicles that play a role in public safety. If you’re a tow truck driver looking to outfit a new vehicle or upgrade your current one in the realm of LED lights, what should you be thinking about? Here are several important factors that will help you define your search.

Are Tow Trucks “Emergency” Vehicles?

One key question that some may have when thinking about tow truck LED lights is whether or not these vehicles can be considered “emergency” vehicles. After all, they don’t necessarily respond to typical 911 situations in the same way that police and fire departments do.

The answer here is a bit complicated. In most jurisdictions, tow trucks are considered emergency response vehicles under what’s known as the Move Over law, which requires drivers to slow down and move over when they see one of these vehicles stopped at the side of the road. That said, tow truck operators are typically not required to have an emergency warning light setup installed on their vehicles, though many choose to do so for added visibility and safety benefits.

Do People Treat Tow Trucks Like Emergency Vehicles?

Perhaps the more important question here for tow truck operators is whether or not people treat their vehicles like emergency response ones when they’re on the road. The simple answer: Not as often as we’d like, and this is part of what makes having proper lights and other visibility equipment so important.

When you outfit your tow truck with LED emergency and warning lights, you help make yourself more visible to other drivers on the road, which can help reduce the chances of an accident occurring in the course of your duties. This is especially true at night or under inclement weather conditions when low visibility is a major issue.

Know Your State Laws

Naturally, the most important factor when it comes to legal considerations is to know your state laws when it comes to the use of emergency and warning lights on tow trucks. Different states have different regulations, so make sure you do your research before ordering any products.

For instance, some states require tow truck operators to have amber-colored lighting installed while others may permit only a limited number of strobing patterns. Double check to make sure you’re compliant with any applicable regulations before installing your equipment.

Tow Truck LED Options

Let’s look at some of the top options for light types when you’re searching through LED selections:

  • Light bars: Easily the most popular and common format for tow trucks in particular, these are powerful and versatile products that come in a huge range of sizes and colors, allowing you to customize your setup as needed. Light bars offer 360 degrees of visibility, making them ideal for any job. They have numerous capabilities and flash patterns, whether you’re looking to outfit the entire truck or just a certain area.
  • LED grille and hideaway strobes: These are ideal for those who want a more refined look while they’re on the job. They can be easily installed in any grille opening, overhead, or even behind bumpers and body panels. Some models also come with color options like amber, blue, and white.
  • Beacons: This is a classic option for tow truck drivers, especially when they’re working on the side of the road in hazardous conditions. These products are typically mounted on top of the vehicle and come with a full range of colorful options. They also feature several flash patterns to choose from and can be easily programmed to your needs.
  • Rocker panels and stick lights: These weather-resistant and versatile options are perfect for those who need a bit of extra visibility when they’re out on the road. They can be easily stuck to any flat surface and provide powerful illumination in a variety of colors, making them great for marking off work areas or even just getting some added attention while driving around.

Tow Truck Type

Another key consideration as you select warning for your tow truck is the type of vehicle that you have. Different vehicles may require different lighting setups, and it’s important to make sure you have the correct equipment installed in order to be compliant with any applicable regulations.

Here are some examples of common tow truck formats and what to think about with regard to LED lights:

  • Flatbed: This is by far the most popular type of tow truck, and they may require some special considerations when it comes to LED lights. In many cases, flatbeds will require a light bar in order to provide adequate visibility for when you’re on the road or even parked as you work. You should also consider adding some additional lights along the edges of the bed, as this can help you see what’s going on in the back while providing greater visibility for other drivers.
  • Wheel lift: These trucks may require slightly different lighting setups than flatbeds, depending on their size and the specific regulations that apply to your state. Generally speaking, a powerful light bar is a good option for the cab, along with some additional lights on the sides.
  • Hook and chain: These vehicles may require more focused lighting options than flatbeds or wheel lifts, as they often have to navigate tight corners while carrying heavy loads. In this case, it’s best to opt for some powerful beacons and spotlights that can help direct your eyes to where you need to be looking.

Mounting Location Considerations

Another major factor to keep in mind is the positioning of any lights that you install. This will depend on the type of vehicle and the regulations that apply, but there are some general guidelines that you should consider when it comes to installation:

  • Height considerations: It’s important to make sure that any light you install is at the correct height, as this will ensure that it is visible from a distance. Most regulations will stipulate a minimum height, but it’s best to go higher than this if possible, as it will help make sure you have the visibility needed.
  • Power connection: Many LED lights come with their own power sources, while others may require hard wiring into your vehicle. Make sure you are familiar with the installation requirements before you begin so that you can get the best results.
  • Hideaway option: Some tow truck drivers also use their vehicles for other purposes, so you may want to consider some hideaway lighting options that can be easily removed when not in use. This can help keep your vehicle looking clean and professional.
  • Regulations: Finally, it’s important to make sure that any lights you install are compliant with applicable regulations. Be sure to check with your local law enforcement agency for the specific requirements in your area.


Our last area is also one of the most important when considering LED emergency and warning lights for tow trucks: your budget. We understand that most drivers are working to a tight budget, so it’s important to find lighting solutions that fit within this constraint.

Fortunately, there are plenty of great options available from top manufacturers. You can find everything from budget-friendly light bars to more expensive spotlights, so make sure to do your research and find the best option for you.

LED emergency and warning lights are an essential part of tow truck driving, as they help keep drivers safe on the road and ensure that their vehicles remain compliant with applicable regulations. As such, it’s important to consider all the factors involved when choosing the right lights for your vehicle. Think carefully about the type of truck you have, the mounting locations, power requirements, and budget before making a decision. With these considerations in mind, you can find a great set of LED lights that will help keep you safe and ensure your tow truck is always visible on the road.

At LED Equipped, we have a wide selection of high quality lights that can be used on tow trucks. Contact us today to learn more about our products and get started on finding the right lighting solution for your vehicle.

Previous article Why LEDs Are the Industry Standard Emergency Lights
Next article On Emergency LED Light Lens Options