1. #1
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    Default Rear Lights Flashing

    Every once in awhile I see fire apparatus driving around with just the rear lights flashing. I have seen it quite a bit lately. What is the reason for this? It seems to confuse drivers.
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    We have talked about doing this but since there is no switch just for the rear lights we leave out signal masters on the “warn” pattern at all times when we are driving, whether its on a call or just returning to the hall or whatever. Simple reason is that we may be stopping or slowing down at any time for what may seem like no reason to the guy that is driving behind us but in reality its due to a call or something of that nature. It also adds more awareness to the person driving behind us.
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    i heard this was a traditional thing, when guys used to ride the back step, to leave the rear warning lights on for their safety. And to make other drivers aware of what was on the back of the ambulance.

    and of course, even though we don't ride the back step anymore, we haven't bothered to change out way of thinking about that rule
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    We don't to it as much as we used to, but it is still done sometimes. Simply to draw more attention to the apparatus and keep drivers aware.
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    I'd say (like has been said) its for warning. Even with them I have lost count on how many times some jackoff will try and sneak behind the rig, when slowing down to begin trying to back into the station (with full lights going).

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    Our rear directional warning lights have their own switch separate from the emergency master. Drivers may just be forgetting to turn them off.

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    Also, we use them to keep idiots from tailgaiting. Actually seems to work. You'd think we'd have the same issue as with Rescq1 but we don't.
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    How many of us complain that people pay no attention to our lights and sirens? If we want people to pay attention to them, it seems to me that it would be in our best interest to only use them when needed -- like when responding to emergencies or when the apparatus is a traffic hazard.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cozmosis View Post
    How many of us complain that people pay no attention to our lights and sirens? If we want people to pay attention to them, it seems to me that it would be in our best interest to only use them when needed -- like when responding to emergencies or when the apparatus is a traffic hazard.
    Exactly what I was thinking.

    I would think if your really worried about someone hitting you in the rear you would include something like a third brake light on your rigs. I know all the transit buses around here have a pair of amber LEDs in the center under the rear windows that come on when they let off the gas. Gets your attention...
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    Quote Originally Posted by cozmosis View Post
    How many of us complain that people pay no attention to our lights and sirens? If we want people to pay attention to them, it seems to me that it would be in our best interest to only use them when needed -- like when responding to emergencies or when the apparatus is a traffic hazard.
    Bingo! Give that man a cee-gar!
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    Quote Originally Posted by cozmosis View Post
    How many of us complain that people pay no attention to our lights and sirens? If we want people to pay attention to them, it seems to me that it would be in our best interest to only use them when needed -- like when responding to emergencies or when the apparatus is a traffic hazard.
    That's the exact reason we're wiring our arrow-sticks into the master warning switch - to prevent having it flash when the warning lights aren't on. We sure don't need to make the public immune to seeing our warning lights.

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    Another vote in Cozmosis corner. Emergency lights are for emergencies, hazard lights are for hazards. Like BoxAlarm our 2 newest units have traffic advisors and all future ones will as well.

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    Driving around with flashing lights on when you aren't on a call is causing more harm than good. You are accomplishing nothing.
    Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nmfire View Post
    Driving around with flashing lights on when you aren't on a call is causing more harm than good. You are accomplishing nothing.
    Well, you are accomplishing one thing, assuming you don't have LED lights:
    Wearing out the bulb life, so they'll die when you really need them.
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    FYI, in NJ this is quite common.

    39:4-92.1. Fire department vehicle returning to fire station; flashing red light
    It shall be lawful for any fire department vehicle when returning to its fire station from an emergency call to display a flashing red light visible under normal atmospheric conditions from a distance of at least 500 feet to the rear of the vehicle and no driver of any vehicle other than one on official business shall follow any such vehicle displaying said light closer than 300 feet.

    L.1966, c. 289, s. 1, eff. Oct. 6, 1966.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DCFDCAR5 View Post
    L.1966, c. 289, s. 1, eff. Oct. 6, 1966.
    Most likely a leftover from the days of riding the tailboard.

    IMHO, the fact that it's legal in some jurisdictions doesn't make it a good idea.
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    I leave my traffic bar on random flash all the time. If it makes people reluctant to get close or pass, that's a bonus.


    It confuses drivers? They live confused.

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    Let's see... the only times I see rear lights on -

    1) We're going to fireworks detail and have people riding in the hose bed.
    2) The driver forgot to turn them off


    But on some trucks, the arrow stick is permanently on, but I don't know if that counts as "rear lights".

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    Quote Originally Posted by cozmosis View Post
    How many of us complain that people pay no attention to our lights and sirens? If we want people to pay attention to them, it seems to me that it would be in our best interest to only use them when needed -- like when responding to emergencies or when the apparatus is a traffic hazard.
    I know some departments whose apparatus are a traffic hazard no matter what the situation.
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    I don't see it as a problem. I don't have a policy one way or the other...

    When I was operating, if the vehicle was not in service (just me on board and not available), I would shut them off.

    I like the previous comment that drivers "live confused".

    However, on any new apparatus, we are blacking out the forward facing section of the rear rotators. So that people ahead of us don't get confused and pull over.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiefKN View Post
    However, on any new apparatus, we are blacking out the forward facing section of the rear rotators. So that people ahead of us don't get confused and pull over.
    This is also a good idea to keep the driver's visibility when looking in the mirrors at night!

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    Just a thought

    Using anything other than normal road lights on the way back from a call is bollocks.

    You are not responding to an emergency, you are returning to your station, as part of the normal traffic flow.

    You are just another vehicle presumably operating under the same road rules as "Joe Citizen".

    The only time outside a call when we switch on all of our beacons is when reversing the truck, and that is done with at least one guide for the driver.
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    Quote Originally Posted by st42stephenAFT View Post
    1) We're going to fireworks detail and have people riding in the hose bed.
    Please tell me you're joking.
    "Nemo Plus Voluptatis Quam Nos Habant"

    The Code is more what you'd call "guidelines" than actual rules.

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    I always had them on if they was anybody on the tailboard like when we were doing hydrants
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    Quote Originally Posted by FlyingKiwi View Post
    You are just another vehicle presumably operating under the same road rules as "Joe Citizen".
    In my state, school buses have a white flashing strobe on the roof.

    DOT (department of transportation) trucks have yellow flashers on all the time.

    Tell me the harm again? That people will think that the truck in front of them is going to a fire? So what? They are behind us!

    If it offers a little bit more safety for our firefighters then I fail to see the harm.
    I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

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