Emergency Light Art

Blue LX4 LED lights, light up a country road.

I did some interesting photography lastnight.  I went out to a country road near Buffalo and took these photos of my lights.  I did have to edit them in photoshop a bit but otherwise they are pretty representative of what you can see with the naked eye while each light is active.  If you look close you can actually notice the fireflys in the photos.

This was a 'control' photo I took with only the amber running lights turned on.  This was a much longer exposure of about 30 seconds compared to the other exposures which were only 8 seconds and 4 seconds respectivly.

Taken from behind the Jeep, this photo is a guess at what the Jeep might look like to someone who is approaching it from behind while high on drugs or very drunk.

Light safety is always important.  Finding the right setup and flash pattern for your vehicle is very important.  I always test my lights under a variety of weather contitions for visibility and readability.  I also will squint my eyes to blurr the lights to see if they still make sense when distorted and blurred.

Ideally you want a light pattern which is not confusing.  Having too many lights is bad, and having too many different flash patterns going on at once is also bad.  Ideally you want to keep the rear of your vehicle in prespective, so it is easy to discern how far away the vehicle is.  Ensuring that 2 lights (one on either side) go on at the same time to provide frames of reference as to how wide your vehicle is, is always a good idea.

Also, mixing in different colors randomly is a bad idea.  If you do mix colors, make sure each color comes on in combination with other lights of the same color...  OR is restricted to one side of the vehicle.  An example of this is the traditional Red / Blue split.  This split is actually very effective.  However having blue mixed in randomly with red lights, is more distracting then anything.

You also must think about different levels of lighting.  In the photo above, you can clearly see the arrow bar, and you can clearly see the tail lights.   each light is a different level.  If I were to add light modules near the license plate, they would be on the same level as the running lights.  Therefore, I would have to sync them somehow, or ensure that the flash patterns complemented eachother.  Alternativly, if I were to add a roof bar, it would add a 3rd level of lighting, above the arrow bar.

A 'level' in my opinion, is a horizontal line of lighting across a vehicle.  Dark, unlit space (which is big enough to seperate glare from each light level) is considered a seperator.  Ideally, you should not have lights in these seperators - otherwise you run the risk of creating a situation where glare from the light in between the 2 levels, will make each level harder to read, which could be a problem if one of the levels is a arrow bar as in this case.

As far as I know, there is no official science on emergency lighting.  Therefore, this is my answer to ensuring that my vehicle is safe.