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The Importance of Amber Lights

May 21, 2020

Flashing amber lights are a visual indicator of the caution/alert revolving and flashing light equipment used by roadside assistance vehicles, security patrol vehicles, tow trucks, road construction or repair vehicles, and other public utility works vehicles. In fact, all motor vehicles are armed with four way amber lights for drivers to turn on so they can alert other motorists in the case of emergency road stops or for slow moving, impaired vehicles.


A natural consequence of their importance is that all legally permitted fleet vehicles must have a functioning amber light unit at all times


To elaborate on this further, here are three other reasons drivers on the road are reliant on them working flawlessly.


Motorist safety


At highway speeds, emergency stopping can result in disastrous consequences and multi-vehicle pileups as the mechanical and safety limitations built into generic cars do not allow vehicles to stop instantaneously. However, amber flashing lights are able to alert other motorists much earlier, giving them time to make valuable lifesaving decisions to slow down or change lanes. Roadside assistance and breakdown vehicles can move smoothly from one lane to the next to reach the broken-down vehicle and provide prompt assistance.


Road Construction and Road Repair


Road construction and road repair vehicles are armed with amber flashing light systems which meet regulated code. The code ensures visibility of warning lights under different operating environments.


SAE Class 1 Warning Lights are used mainly by emergency response vehicles such as police, fire, and ambulance. Light modules in this class are required to have a minimum candela value greater than 8100, with some reaching close to 18,000 cd-s/m. D&R’s Genesis modules meet SAE Class 1 standards.

SAE Class 2 Warning Lights are used on utility and service vehicles. Candela values in this class range from 1981 cd to 8099 cd-s/m. Vehicles that are slow-moving or blocking traffic typically use these lights to warn other road users, providing other drivers with enough time to make informed decisions.


Amber Lamp Specifications


Of course, the assistive nature of these lights is contingent on meeting thoroughly laid out requirements. A number of different light devices exist, each with their own identifiable traits. For example, a directionally aimed amber device that beacons out a repeating flash of light must project its signal across an area 20° right to 20° left horizontally and 10° up to 10° down vertically, as a minimum.


It is important to verify local regulations as there are different regulations in place for various provinces and states. To illustrate this point, in British Columbia, Canada, vehicle allowances for amber lamp units/devices range, on average, from one to two units/devices and are subject to vehicle type and emitted light direction. By contrast, in Ontario, as stated by the Highway Traffic Act, a maximum of three amber lights (motorcycles excluded) are to be outfitted onto a vehicle to help illuminate at distance greater than >150m.


Functionality starts with D&R Electronics


For complete fleet solutions including electronic, metal, and plastic products, check out D&R Electronics: a believer in providing solutions through creativity. Our 40+ years of enriched experience and knowledge working with police and public work departments around the globe is a definite advantage, further strengthened by our after sales service policies. For more information, visit


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