An important aspect for any emergency vehicle is its warning system. They drive constantly into potentially dangerous situations. To work effectively, they require a vehicle emergency warning system to which people recognize and respond. In fact, emergency vehicles sport two types of warning systems. These are passive and active. This article will only look at the visual, not the audio warning systems.

Passive Visual Vehicle Warning Systems

One of the ways emergency vehicles attract attention visually is through color. Colors have always played a role in eliciting emotional responses. These range from calmness to excitement and anxiety. Around the world, these colors will change in accordance with the cultural response. Whatever the chosen color scheme, they are re-created on the emergency vehicle to indicate its purpose.

Other passive vehicle warning systems include:

* Contrasting patterns: These are usually executed to produce a high contrast reinforcing the color scheme and purpose of the vehicle

* Names: Many emergency vehicles feature their name or service printed in large letters in reverse on the front, therefore increasing the impact and alerting oncoming traffic or approached vehicles. Ambulances and Fire trucks often use this form of passive waring system

* Emblems: Various emergency vehicles sport a symbol that is connected with their organization and the work it performs. A classic emergency vehicle warning system of this type is found on Red Cross vehicles. In fact, a red cross, red crescent or red diamond are traditional symbols for vehicles assuming caring roles

These are the most basic types of passive visual emergency vehicle warning systems. They act upon the subconscious as well as the conscious to produce the sensation required to help emergency vehicles perform their task without interference from traffic. Using color, shape and symbols, the vehicles rely on conspicuity to make sure others on the road notice them and recognize their intent.

Active Visual Vehicle Warning Systems

Active visual emergency vehicle warning systems usually take the form of lights. These are flashing, brilliantly hued and even dazzling lights. The most common colors used are primary blues and reds. The colors can vary according to the country.

Also called light-bars or beacons, they are intentionally designed to captivate the eye. The flashing immediately triggers a response. It is a warning to all motorists and pedestrians that an emergency vehicle is approaching or nearby. The flashing comes in different patterns. They flash according to the different technology employed to produce an array of effects.

Emergency Vehicle Warning System

Lights are meant to protect emergency vehicles going to and attending their job. They act to provide oncoming traffic with a visual clue of their purpose. The visual emergency vehicle warning system may indicate its purpose actively or passively. Either way, colors and light indicate an emergency action is under way.