The Purposes of Different Police Lights (2024)

Police lights are a vital tool on patrol cars in order for the police officer to do their job quickly and efficiently, while also keeping surrounding vehicles and pedestrians safe. Without any type of alert system, it would make it more difficult for police to get anywhere in the case of an emergency or to warn other people.

Tactical Colors, Accessories, and Their Significance
The colors that are used forpolice lights on squad cars actually have some significance; they primarily use two different colors, red and blue. When a squad car is flashing a red light, it is signifying that there is an immediate emergency. However, when a blue light is used (which can be easily spotted from a farther distance) it is meant to alert the presence of police. Squad cars also use white lights, which are usually used for the night shift when an area needs greater visibility. Interestingly enough, the different noises sirens make also have different meanings. The “wailing” noise that you typically think of is used primarily for open roads (often when the officer is traveling at high speed) or when they’re coming into an intersection. The wail is more efficient during that time because it’s more likely to penetrate the cabin of a vehicle in order for the drivers to hear it. The “yelping” noise is used in congested traffic situations to alert a car (or multiple cars) to get out of the way.

The accessories that are used for the police lights on patrol cars are often accompanied with base rotators. This allows the lights to turn, for the purpose of enabling a 360-degree angle. That way the light can shine in all directions. The light bars used on police cars often have a strobe feature along with a main LED light that creates an even brighter light in order for greater visibility for the police operating the vehicle, as well as those around the vehicle.

When the police lights are used they have varying degrees of significance. When police lights are used during a traffic stop, the lights are used to alert oncoming vehicles as well as parked vehicles on the road. When they are used at the scene of an accident, they are alerting oncoming vehicles to slow down or stop their car. During an emergency or a police chase, the police lights on the car are used to warn vehicles to move out of the way on the road, and to keep pedestrians safely away from the oncoming police car.

Police Lights At Ultra Bright Lightz
Whatever types of lights or siren you need for your police or emergency vehicle (or your police department), Ultra Bright Lightz will be able to supply you with them. Are you looking for dash or deck LED police lights? We are stocked with the best LED dash lights and deck lights from UBL and Feniex, with a variety of lights and colors for whatever needs you have. We have red and blue lights for either police lights, emergency vehicles such as ambulances and fire trucks, and more. We also have bar and stick police lights that can be mounted virtually anyway on your vehicle (even on the inside) and are available in an array of colors. Our bar and stick police lights can fit into your back or side window, or placed directly on the roof of your car. If you prefer grill or surface mount lights, we have an extensive variety that come in different shapes and sizes to fit your needs and your vehicle.

Maybe you’ve been looking for the perfect hide-a-way or strobe light to accompany your array of police lights? Strobes are extremely bright lights that are compact, which make them incredibly easy for mounting in either headlights or taillights, or even surface mounted on your vehicle. Our selection of Feniex Cannon 120’s and 360’s are very popular and they have the added advantage of being able to be wired for stop, turn, and tail functions.

Our sirens and speakers are also some of the best in the industry. We have a large variety of high quality and reliable sirens to choose from, with an array of tones that will fit your emergency situation as well as your siren preferences. And to accompany your new siren, you can choose from our extremely loud selection of speakers to give your siren a high quality (and loud) sound! You can find the perfect speaker for your siren that has a high quality sound, at an affordable price.

Do you have any questions about our products or our services? Contact us today and let us provide you with the best police, emergency, and work lights the industry has to offer.

The Purposes of Different Police Lights (2024)


The Purposes of Different Police Lights? ›

Color Significance

What do the different police lights mean? ›

The purpose of colored police lights can vary, but there are some generally consistent uses. Red lights often indicate an immediate emergency. When blue lights are added, it is to alert other drivers to the presence of a police vehicle. White lights are often used at night to enhance visibility in an area.

What does it mean when cops have their lights on but not flashing? ›

It's simple — police are letting you know that they're in the area. The lights on patrol cars are called “cruise lights” when they're not flashing, according to an old post from the Guilford Police Department, which notes that it's a common question the public asks.

What are the police colors? ›

Red and blue lights are used on U.S. police cars for many reasons, but the main one is that they are highly visible and easily distinguishable from one another. According to, it also has to do with color association, among other factors.

Why do some cops have red lights? ›

Red has the longest wavelength, meaning it will disperse less and can more easily reach the eye, even in foggy conditions. Police vehicles need to gain access to incidents as quickly as possible, and effective lighting helps make this possible.

Why are police lights different colors? ›

Unlike yellow and green, which are colors we always see in our surroundings, blue can be easier to spot during the daytime hours. Red and blue lights are used on police cars for many reasons but the main one being that they are highly visible and easily distinguishable from one another.

What does it mean when a cop only uses blue lights? ›

What can it mean when a police vehicle only has its blue flashing lights on but no siren at nighttime? Lights only calls (regardless of whether it's day or night) are typically used in situations where an officer is trying to get quickly to a call without alerting the individuals that he is coming.

What does it mean when a cop has his lights on but no siren? ›

If it is night time, we can respond emergent with no sirens. It's almost a better advantage for us. People we are approaching can see us, but the criminal cannot hear us. It'll vary by area but it usually means they're trying to l run silent, usually as they approach an active call.

What do white police lights mean? ›

If you see a white flashing light, the police may be using it as a warning but are more likely to be trying to identify a particular vehicle or to illuminate your vehicle or one in your vicinity, and you do not need to stop or pull over unless they use their tactical blue and red lights.

What does flashing lights but no sirens mean? ›

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.

What do blue and white police lights mean? ›

However, when a blue light is used (which can be easily spotted from a farther distance) it is meant to alert the presence of police. Squad cars also use white lights, which are usually used for the night shift when an area needs greater visibility.

Why are police called 12? ›

According to one theory, the term is derived from the police radio code 10-12, which stands for "stand by" or "wait". This code was used in the 1960s and 1970s, and people started using the 12 slang to refer to cops. The term refers to the police presence in an area.

What are cop lights called? ›

A more generic term for them is light bars, rotating lights, and beacons. Police lights are also referred to as flashing lights. Police officers in many western countries call them overheads. In British English, the flashing lights on top of squad cars are known as blues and twos.

Why did a cop flashes blue lights at me? ›

In some states the police cars have just blue lights. Again, if an officer is observing traffic and she or he flashes their blue lights at you, it's a warning saying, “behave or I'll have to chase you down and write you a ticket. As a retired police officer, it was one of my favorite traffic control devices.

What do red and blue police lights mean? ›

Everyone knows what it means when they see red and blue flashing lights: a police officer is nearby. These flashing red and blue police lights have become an indicator that you need to be aware because a law enforcement officer is nearby.

What does it mean when a cop has blue and red lights on? ›

People who have trouble seeing red often have no trouble seeing blue. Likewise, drivers who can't see blue can nonetheless see red. Using both red and blue lights thus helps to alert all drivers, even those with colorblindness.

What color lights do police use? ›

Red: The most common color used in the United States to denote an emergency vehicle. With the exception of law enforcement vehicles in certain states, police, fire and EMS vehicles commonly all use red lights. Amber: Typically have the broadest range of acceptable use in most motor vehicle codes.

What color lights do cops use to pull you over? ›

Every authorized emergency vehicle is required to have one steady burning red lamp that is visible from 1000 feet. California Vehicle Code Sec. 25252. These vehicles may also have a revolving flashing or steady light system on the upper beam headlamps that alternates from one side to the other.

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