Police Light Bar Patterns Explained – What You Need To Know

Police Light Bar Patterns Explained

Whenever you see lights flashing at the top of a police vehicle, it indicates that a significant event is happening. The cop could either be responding to an emergency call. And having a random traffic stop or in incidences still in progress.

Whichever the case, you may not know that there are different police light bar patterns. And they all have different meanings. Yes, the colors are not random, and they all point to a unique situation.

If you want to satisfy your curiosity on this subject, you have come to the right place. This article shall tell you all about the different police light bar patterns and their significance.

Police Light Bar Patterns Explained

Police Light Bar Patterns

Red and Blue Light Color Patterns

This is the most common color pattern that you must have come across in the US or elsewhere around the world. The impressive bit about this pattern is that both colors signify something different. We shall point them out for you.

Let’s start with red is meant to alert you that there is an ongoing emergency. So, it is up to you to take the necessary precautions when approaching that vehicle and the scene where you found it.

Then, the blue lights signify that the police are present and are meant to distinguish the guys in blue from other responders. We all know that vehicles and areas with police need to be approach and handle with caution lest a misunderstanding could turn out catastrophic.

You may like to read: Ambient, Task, and Accent Lighting and Indirect Lighting – What It Is and Benefits

Yellow Lights Patterns

Next up are yellow lights which are not frequently used as they are reserved for special incidences and events. In most cases, they are used when a patrol car has to slow down for any particular reason. This will help other vehicles to be aware of the situation and give the appropriate response.

White Lights Patterns

As you may have guessed, white lights are meant to boost visibility in poorly lit areas. Most police vehicles use them in night shifts when they need extra lighting to make the area more visible.

We all know how difficult it is to interview suspects in the dark or spot those on foot.

In addition to the lights, most patrol cars come with base rotators to allow for a 360-degree rotation. This is significant as it enables the light to shine in all directions to improve visibility.

In fact, most light bars that you come across will have a strobe feature whose aim is to provide more visibility whenever the need arises.


You should also keep in mind that there are exceptional circumstances where all the lights may be used in one go. So, don’t be surprised when you find all the lights flashing from a police vehicle at some point.

Also read: What Size Fuse or Relay for LED Light Bar?

Closing Remark

If you used to take the lights flashing from police cars for granted, we hope you have now understood their importance. They can be used to signify an emergency, police presence, or the vehicle having some issue. And now you know what the different patterns signify, next time you come across one, you’ll know how to react and avoid getting into trouble.

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