For many emergency responders, from police officers to firefighters and numerous others, lights and light bars are some of your primary resources for notifying other drivers of your presence on the road. Vital for maintaining safety and allowing drivers to move to the side while emergency vehicles pass, light bars are important to consider in a few ways — and one of these is how the lights used on a given vehicle are mounted.
At LED Equipped, we’re thrilled to offer the widest range available of emergency vehicle LED lights, mini LED light bars and numerous other related products. We assist clients with several areas, from the proper lights to select for a given vehicle or need to how and where to place these lights for maximum efficiency. What are some of the most common and useful mounting locations for LED light bars on emergency vehicles, and how can you choose the best format for your needs? Here are some basics to keep in mind.
Above the Windshield
The LED light bar look that many are most familiar with, and which is most common on vehicles like police cars and some others, is the style that is mounted above the windshield. This location allows for maximum visibility by other drivers, and it’s also a place where many law enforcement officers are used to seeing light bars.
Some of the advantages of this mounting position include:
- Optimal visibility: Placing the light bar in an area that is easily visible to other drivers is key, and this mounting location provides just that.
- Convenience: The light bar is easy to see and operate from the driver’s seat.
- Aesthetics: This mounting style results in a sleek and professional look for the vehicle.
- Familiarity for other first responders: When other emergency vehicles see this style of light bar, they will be able to quickly and easily identify it as an emergency vehicle.
Now, for some there may be some potential drawbacks of this mounting method:
- Tougher to mount: This style of light bar is typically more difficult to install, as it requires drilling into the windshield.
- Can obstruct driver’s view: If not properly angled, this mounting location can partially block the driver’s view.
- May cause sun glare: The light bar can reflect sunlight and create a glare for the driver.
However, with the proper mounting and care, these aren’t typically major issues for most first responders.
There are a few things to consider when mounting an LED light bar in this position. First, make sure that there is enough space on the roof of your vehicle to fit the light bar. You’ll also want to be sure that the angle of the light bar is correct — it should not obstruct the driver’s view, and should be angled slightly down so as not to create a glare.
In other cases, the lower windshield area may be the best place to mount an LED light bar. This is a less common style, but it does have some advantages that are worth considering.
Some benefits of this mounting position include:
- Can provide optimal light output: When mounted properly, this style can actually provide better light output than one mounted above the windshield.
- Less likely to create a glare: Since the light bar is not directly in the driver’s line of sight, it is less likely to create a glare.
- May be more difficult for others to see: While this may not be an advantage for all emergency responders, for some it can be helpful to have a light bar that is less visible to others on the road. For instance, law enforcement officers in unmarked cars may prefer this style.
At the same time, this mounting area has some possible cons as well:
- Extra hardware: You’ll need to budget for and install additional hardware to properly support the light bar in this position.
- Takes up more space: This mounting style can take up more space on the vehicle, which may not be ideal for all applications.
- Not as universal: While the above-windshield mounting format is well-known and recognizable by other emergency responders, this style may not be as familiar.
So, is the lower windshield the best place to mount your LED light bar? It depends on your needs and preferences. If you want maximum light output and don’t mind the extra cost and installation time, this may be the way to go. If you’re looking for a more covert option, or one that takes up less space on your vehicle, you may want to consider another mounting style.
If you’re looking to mount lights in this format, wiring will be an important consideration as well. Be sure to use heavy-duty wiring and connectors that can handle the amperage draw of the lights, and be sure to test them thoroughly before hitting the road.
Another option for LED light mounting, one that’s considered among the simplest and most straightforward, is the front bumper. This is a good option if you’re looking for an easy installation, or if you want to avoid drilling into your vehicle.
Some benefits of this style include:
- Easy to install: This is one of the easiest ways to mount LED light bars, as it generally doesn’t require any drilling or other modifications to your vehicle.
- Universal fit: As long as your front bumper is the right size, this mounting style will work for just about any vehicle.
- May provide better light output: Placing the light bar in this position may help to achieve better light output than some other mounting locations.
- Easy wiring: Because the front bumper is very close to the engine compartment, wiring is generally much simpler and easier to manage here than in other locations.
However, there are a few potential downsides to this style as well:
- May block view: If you’re not careful, the light bar can obstruct the driver’s view.
- Less overall coverage: Because this light bar is mounted on the front of the vehicle, it will not provide as much overall coverage as one that’s mounted on the roof or back of the vehicle.
- May damage bumper: If not installed correctly, the light bar can cause damage to your front bumper.
For many vehicles, this will be the right choice for simple, effective LED light bar mounting. But be sure to consider your needs carefully before making a decision.
If you decide to go with the front bumper mount setup, it’s important to use the right hardware. Look for brackets that are specifically designed to mount light bars on front bumpers, and be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to avoid any damage to your vehicle.
Combination Light Setup
Finally, for many emergency responders, a combination light setup may be the best option. This involves mounting one light on the front bumper and another on the roof, providing 360-degree coverage around the vehicle.
Some benefits of this style include:
- Maximum light output: This is often the brightest possible setup, as it gives you two light bars instead of just one.
- Maximum coverage: The combination light setup provides the best possible coverage around your vehicle, helping you to be seen from all angles.
- Easier wiring: This style generally requires less wiring than other setups, making it easier to install.
Now, as you may have guessed, going with multiple light mounting options on the same vehicle may increase your costs a bit. But for many responders, the benefits of this setup outweigh any additional expenses.
If you’re looking for a versatile and effective LED light bar mounting option, a combination light setup may be just what you need. Be sure to consider your specific needs and preferences before making a decision, and be sure to use high-quality hardware that can withstand the elements.
No matter which mounting option you choose, it’s important to be aware of the wiring requirements. LED light bars require a lot of power, so be sure to use heavy-duty wiring that can handle the amperage draw of the lights. And be sure to test the wiring thoroughly before hitting the road.
For more on mounting locations for your LED light bars, or to learn about any of our emergency vehicle LED lights or other products, contact the pros at LED Equipped today.