All - Blinded by the (Flashing Blue) Lights - MikeM100

The other evening I was overtaken by two police cars. Before, during and after they overtook me I was temporarily 'blinded by the intense strobing blue light.

I was reminded that a few months ago I passed the scene of a nighttime accident and was confronted by multiple stationary emergency service vehicles all flashing blue lights.

Whilst I perfectly understand the need and use of these lights I feel that due to their intensity they almost constitute a hazard in themselves ! In daytime they need to be bright but at nightime they could perhaps be dimmed just a little ?

In the past an incandescent bulb and rotating reflector mirror gave reasonable warning but now we have ultra bright strobing LED arrays.

There are standards for vehicle lighting brightness - do these apply to emergency vehicles ?

All - Blinded by the (Flashing Blue) Lights - carl233

I also find some modern cars have the most powerful and blinding lights in general that it is tough to ignore the impact they make when passing. Some of the latest vehicles are totally blinding where as older vehicles seemed to be very consistent.

All - Blinded by the (Flashing Blue) Lights - RT

Blue flashing lights on emergency vehicles are there to draw attention to the vehicle. The increase in Lumens of HID/LED lights on ordinary cars does need brighter blue lights to be seen "over" them.

As a tangent, the legal minimum eye-sight is pitifully low - contrary to public opinion, 6/6 isn't "perfect" eyesight, it's just average - the legal minimum is half that standard.

All - Blinded by the (Flashing Blue) Lights - Andrew-T

Blue flashing lights on emergency vehicles are there to draw attention to the vehicle. The increase in Lumens of HID/LED lights on ordinary cars does need brighter blue lights to be seen "over" them.

Yes. And so it goes on, everyone leapfogging everyone else. Until driving becomes impossible.

All - Blinded by the (Flashing Blue) Lights - argybargy

I was a firefighter for many years, and it used to be the practice at major incidents where multiple fire engines were deployed that one vehicle would be designated the "control point", its blue lights remaining on, and the others would turn theirs off. This was less about reducing the danger of dazzling other road users than about directing crews arriving at the incident to a place where they could receive their orders.

I suspect that nowadays the view is taken that if emergency vehicles turn up en masse and particularly if they are presenting a hazard to other vehicles by their positioning, they should all keep the lights on. Not just because it makes sense where there is no need to identify a particular vehicle, but because they're less likely to be prosecuted for not showing sufficient warning to other road users if there's a collision involving a stationary emergency vehicle.

As to whether the brightness of the lights can be mitigated, I'm no expert in vehicle lighting technology, but I guess they only have two options, which would be on or off.

All - Blinded by the (Flashing Blue) Lights - MikeM100

Thank you Argybargy - that is a very good explanation and does make sense.

In the particular incident police were directing traffic through on the opposite carriageway and it was very difficult to see due to the multiple strobing lights !

All - Blinded by the (Flashing Blue) Lights - Manatee

I've experienced this too, with a copper waving a torch to indicate where he wanted me to go.

He got quite stroppy when I stopped and lowered the window to ask what he wanted me to do. I could neither see properly nor interpret his torch waving.

Had he just held his arm up and pointed, and shone the torch on it so I could see it, it might hae been some help.

All - Blinded by the (Flashing Blue) Lights - Glaikit Wee Scunner {P}

I'd that once and the poor guy was quite frazzled with the number of cars to be directed. I guess he did not appreciate my comment.

All - Blinded by the (Flashing Blue) Lights - Bilboman

"Had he just held his arm up and pointed, and shone the torch on it so I could see it..." In most European countries the police are equipped with a fairly simple "wand" which is switched on with a red or yellow light and becomes an extension to the arm signals. Brilliantly simple and effective - why are they not used in Britain?
Likewise the police whistle, which (bar the Met and the whistles on Special Escort Group motorbikes) has completely vanished from use, despite being simple and effective and hardly likely to dent hard-pressed police budgets!
When a Spanish police officer gives a series of short blasts on his whistle, traffic has to stop and a prolonged whistle is the order to move off. Simples!

All - Blinded by the (Flashing Blue) Lights - RT

Back in the olden days when PCs would do "point duty" at busy times, they'd put on black/white sleeve coverings to make their arm movements mor obvious.

All - Blinded by the (Flashing Blue) Lights - DieselBoy

In ambulanceland, the protocol for major incident is the same - first on scene should be the only one to leave their flashy stuff on.

They are getting brighter and brighter though. The rapid response car lights are particularly bright.

Same can be said for the police. We've had a police escort from a traffic X5 on blue lights. By the time the destination was reached, retinas were well and truly suffering!

All - Blinded by the (Flashing Blue) Lights - argybargy

Without any prior training and early in my firefighting career I was once roped in to perform impromptu "point duty" after an accident at a busy urban crossroads. It was lunchtime, there was heavy traffic coming from all directions, and the police were yet to arrive.

After about ten minutes I lost it completely and started waving frantically at my colleagues to call the police for help, but the waiting motorists had by now had enough of my inadequate efforts to control traffic movement and the abuse started to flow.

My reaction, as far as I recall, was to adopt a dose of the F-its, to wave, beckon and point indiscriminately and let the motorists themselves decide who had priority. Fortunately the police arrived soon afterwards and took over. Good thing, because after much longer I might have been wearing someone's steering wheel for a hat.

Not my finest hour.

Edited by argybargy on 19/11/2017 at 10:32

All - Blinded by the (Flashing Blue) Lights - Bilboman

www.youtube.com/watch?v=nzZsclFHkTo
I don't think there's a traffic cop anywhere in the world who can do it quite like this. Poetry in motion.

 

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