December 6, 2023

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Why are the flashing lights blue and not red?  |  Mobility

Why are the flashing lights blue and not red? | Mobility

Blue flashing lights mean that you must quickly give way to emergency services. But why is it blue here and not red, as in the United States, for example? The surprising answer: because of the Nazis.

The Swiss newspaper reported that the fact that there are blue warning lights in police, rescue and fire vehicles is an invention of the Nazis. Blake. The basic idea is that blue disperses better in the atmosphere and is therefore easier to see up close. But the biggest advantage is that the color has become much more difficult to see from attacking aircraft.

This is why Germany switched from red to blue warning lights as early as 1933. During World War II, other countries followed this theory of embezzlement. After the war, blue was retained and in the 1950s it became popular throughout Europe as the color for emergency warning lights.

Modern blue light bars sometimes have light modules that flash upwards – nowadays helicopters should also be able to find locations easily, despite the blue light.

Red is (not) an exception

Red is the color of natural danger and was therefore used first on trains and later on cars as a tail light and then as a warning light. This is precisely why blue stands out among the sea of ​​red lights in everyday traffic. Moreover, the color is rarely found in nature and is therefore immediately noticeable. Studies also show that it penetrates fog better and has slight benefits in bright sunlight.

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Road users perceive an emergency trip as more urgent as the blue light flashes faster.

In some countries, such as the United States, red is still the preferred color, although many studies have recommended blue. With local exceptions, red is still the most commonly used color for incandescent lights there. Conversely, red is sometimes used in Europe as a second colour, for example in Hungary.

Why is the blue light flashing?

Flashing lights were only introduced in the 1940s, and this was done to better attract attention in growing traffic. Flashlights and dual flashes appeared from the 1980s onwards. The big advantage is that no moving parts are required.

Nowadays, LED technology is used so bright that it has a night mode to prevent people from going blind. According to experts, road users also subconsciously feel that the more urgent the emergency trip is, the faster the blue light flashes.

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