How Do Emergency Lights Work?

Emergency Lights

Emergency lights are a well-recognized way to warn drivers of potential hazards on the road. Whether they are police lights, fire lights, warning lights, brake lights or another type of emergency light, these devices can make a huge impact on the safety of drivers and workers. But have you ever wondered how they work?

This blog will take a look at how the LED technology behind these life-saving lights work and how each type of emergency light LED Equipped carries differs in function.

The Science of LED Technology

LED technology has been around since the early 1960s but has become more popular in recent years, in major part because of its energy efficiency and emergency power capabilities. While you have probably heard of LED lights, there is a good chance you have not explored what LED means or how lights that use the technology actually work.

LED stands for “light-emitting diode”, and LED light sources function by using semiconductors and electroluminescence to create light.

Electroluminescence refers to the process in which light is emitted as the result of an electric current being applied. When it comes to LED lighting in particular, an electrical current is passed through a microchip, which serves as a semiconductor to produce the light provided by LEDs. On the microscopic level, the electrical current causes electrons to recombine with electron holes (negatively charged atoms) in an LED device, releasing photons that provide the actual electroluminescence.

The color emitted by an LED light depends on the material the semiconductor is made up of. For example, a violet LED light is produced by a semiconductor made up of indium gallium nitride, red and infrared LEDs are made with gallium arsenide, and blue LEDs are made using gallium nitride.

LED technology has a variety of uses, from a traffic signal, indoor lighting, hazard lights, signage, headlights, and decorative lighting to backlit screens, lasers, medical devices, power outage alert, and even lighted wallpaper. And of course, emergency lights. LEDs work spectacularly for emergency lights because their power makes them visible, even in clear daylight.

LED Emergency Lights
Now that we have explored the technology behind LED lights, let’s take a look at how they function when it comes to different types of LED emergency lights. We will specifically dive into some of the best emergency lights we are proud to carry at LED Equipped.

Emergency Vehicle LED Light Bars

The first type of LED emergency vehicle lighting we are going to discuss is the light bar. Light bars are long rectangular emergency lights on vehicles, similar to the ones you may see on a standard police vehicle. These lights are mounted onto vehicles for use in several types of emergency situations.

Standard light bars can come in several different lengths, including 37-inch, 40-inch, 48-inch, 55-inch, 60-inch, and 63-inch. Every one of our LED light bars has low power consumption thanks to the latest microprocessor circuits, with 3-watt linear LED technology that runs off of 12-volt or 24-volt DC power supply.

Each light bar features 15 flash patterns to choose from, with various color options included. Additionally, they come with four convenient pre-programmed traffic advisory patterns. All of our emergency light bars are also fully waterproof and weatherproof.

Emergency Vehicle LED Mini Light Bars

In addition to our standard light bars, you can also find mini light bars on the LED Equipped website. These are similar to our standard emergency light bars but come in compact sizes of 12-inch, 18-inch, 23-inch, and 27-inch. And just like the other light bars, they use 3-watt LED technology and 12-volt DC power, have 15 selectable flash patterns, are weatherproof, and include four additional traffic advisory patterns.

Tow Truck LED Light Bars

Another category of LED light bars you will find includes tow truck versions. These come in 55-inch and 63-inch lengths but differ in function. For extra safety, the tow truck LED light bars come with stop and turn functions. The rear of the light bars feature brake and turn alerts to better guarantee a tow driver’s safety when making the common maneuvers required to do their job. Just like our other light bars, the tow versions have 3-watt LED technology and run on 12 volts of power.  They also include 15 different warning light patterns, four traffic advisory patterns, and can stand up to water and weather.

Dual Color Emergency LED Light Bars

Dual color emergency LED light bars are yet another type of light bar you will find in our catalog of products. These light bars come in 27-inch, 37-inch, 40-inch,  48-inch, 55-inch, and 63-inch lengths of models. However, unlike the other types of light bars we have touched on, they come with two custom color selections that can display simultaneously. They also feature two modes: first color solid or split, and second color solid or split.

Instead of the linear LED lights used in the other light bars discussed so far, our dual color emergency LED light bars use Total Internal Reflector (TIR) optics. Every LED in a TIR lens combines at the end of a conical reflector, creating a single beam of light that projects similar to how a flashlight would.

However, just like our other light bars, these have 15 flash patterns to choose from, feature the four standard traffic advisory patterns, are weatherproof, and run on 12 volts of DC power.

Although the light is projected differently because of the TIR optics utilized in our dual color LED light bars, they still utilize power-saving 3-watt LED technology.

Interior LED Visor Light Bars

LED visor light bars are another type of light bar suitable for emergency vehicles. Unlike the roof-mounted light bars you’ve come to know so far, these mount inside the vehicle, fitting up to the windshield or sun visor. These lights are much less conspicuous as well, providing a stealthier appearance with a thickness of only 1.5 inches to 2 inches. Our visor light bars come in either 14-inch or 17-inch lengths for convenient mounting.

All of our visor light bars use Generation 4 3-watt LED lights and come in models with either linear LEDs or TIR optics. Every visor light bar runs on 12-volt DC power and plugs directly into the lighter jack of an emergency vehicle. Each features 15 selectable warning light patterns and is designed for interior vehicle use only.

Traffic Advisor LED Light Bars

Traffic advisor light bars are a type of LED emergency light ideal for the vehicles of emergency responders as well as tow truck drivers and construction personnel. Also known as “warning sticks”, they provide oncoming motorists with directional information, such as moving to the left or right to avoid hazards.

Similar to many of our other light bars, these use 3-watt LEDs and run on 12-volt DC power. Traffic advisors are typically smaller, though, with 5-inch, 10-inch, 19-inch, 29-inch, and 38-inch lengths offered in both linear or TIR versions. Each features at least 15 flash patterns to choose from. Their slim design makes them discreet when not in use, and their waterproof driver means they are ideal for either exterior or interior vehicle use.

Emergency LED Dash Lights

LED dash lights are small, discreet emergency lights intended for use inside a vehicle. Their small size and easy installation make them one of the most convenient emergency light options available. They can be easily mounted by included suction cups onto the dashboard or inside of the windshield of a vehicle, and run off of 12-volt DC power from the cigarette plug.

Each LED dash light has 15 to 25 different flash patterns, which makes them ideal for many different emergency situations and vehicles. They come with either linear or TIR options, both of which feature 3-watt LEDs.

LED Equipped carries several compact sizes, including 5-inch, 10-inch, 19-inch, 29-inch, and 38-inch lengths, all of which boast a slim design.

Dual Color (Chameleon) Traffic Advisors

Another category of LED emergency lights available consists of dual color traffic advisors, also known as chameleon traffic advisors. Much like the traffic advisor light bars we touched on earlier, these chameleon traffic advisors are meant for directing traffic flow during an emergency situation. They come in both linear and TIR models with  slim designs and lengths of either 29 inches or 38 inches.

Dual color traffic advisors are ideal for either interior or exterior mounting, and their low-profile design packs a punch when powered on thanks to 3-watt LED lights with over 15 flash patterns. As you may gather from the name, these traffic advisors alternate colors, with a preferred main color alternating with white or amber. Along with our other emergency lights, these run on 15 volts of DC power.

LED Grille Lights (Surface Mount LEDs)

LED grille lights, also known as surface mount LEDs, are a type of highly-customizable light that attaches to the surface of a vehicle’s grille. These slim, versatile lights are made to fit into even the smallest places, like the slats in a vehicle’s grille or even around the license plate.  

Surface mount LEDs can be purchased in single units or bulk bundles, depending on your needs and intended use. There are versions available that use either linear or TIR arrangements of 3-watt LED lights, either of which makes a bold impact and can utilize 22 different flashing patterns. Whether purchased alone or in a bundle, you have the option to choose the color for each of the grille light units.

Since these lights are meant to be used together in different arrangements, they are very small, with lengths of about 4 inches to 5 inches each. These small but powerful lights run on 12 or 24 volts of DC power, depending on your needs. They are meant for exterior use, so are also completely water and weatherproof.

Running Board LED Lights

Running board LED lights are another type of light perfect for use on emergency vehicles. They are long, slim lines of LED lights intended to go on a vehicle’s running board. Running boards, or footboards, are the narrow steps fitted under the side doors of a vehicle, usually a large truck or van. Our running board lights come in three different lengths: 50-inch, 60-inch, and 70-inch.

All of our running board lights use 3-watt LEDs that offer 15 separate flash patterns. Since they attach to an exterior section of a vehicle, they are also completely waterproof. Each comes in a convenient set of two strips so that both sides of a vehicle can be fitted with them. Like our other LED products, they use 12 volts of DC power.  

LED Hideaways

LED hideaway lights are a revolutionary new form of light we offer at LED Equipped. Ideal for undercover cars, they can be hidden out of sight when powered off, but are hard to miss when their 3-watt LED lights are turned on. These small, circular lights can be synchronized (up to 8 at once), and each has 23 ultra-bright LEDs. Each bulb is about an inch wide and has three modes and 21 flash patterns to choose from. Several colors are available and all run on 12 volts of DC power.

These lights are meant to be installed in the headlights or taillights of a vehicle so that they are completely obscured unless you want them to be seen. They are also fully weather resistant and vibration resistant for guaranteed long use.

LED Beacon Lights

The final type of LED emergency light for vehicles we are going to touch on is the beacon light. These are a classic type of emergency light that might remind you of old detective movies, where one stout, cylindrical light rotates a flash pattern. Of course, today’s lights are a little more high-tech. Our beacon light model plugs directly into a vehicle’s cigarette outlet, running on 12 volts or 24 volts of DC power to showcase your choice of seven different warning patterns. These are intended to mount to the roof of a vehicle via magnet or using screws for a more permanent installation. Like all our other LED products, they use 3-watt lights for the ultimate brightness with low power consumption.

Your LED Choices

At this point, it should be clear how LED technology works, and how each type of emergency light functions in its own unique ways. If not, we are here to help! Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have. Rest assured that no matter what type of emergency LED lighting you may require, we are here to help with friendly service, competitive pricing, and three-year warranty coverage for every light.

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