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Hideaway/Strobe colors in WI . . . .

Discussion in 'Strobe Lighting' started by KC9MDQ, Nov 29, 2010.

  1. KC9MDQ

    KC9MDQ Member
    Messages: 35

    Hello everyone. I'm just trying to find a good , solid answer on the lighting color question her in Wisconsin. I currently just have one plow truck , just do my driveway and a few other drives and (very) rarely sub for one of the plowing contractors in town for some of their resi's.
    Besides the plowing in the winter , I'm the guy you see that pulls over by any disabled vehicle to see if they need help ; pulling someone out of a ditch , and changing the tire for the little old lady who got a flat tire on the two lane blacktop in the middle of nowhere .

    I have a Federal Signal dual halogen rotator ( don't know the model off the top of my head ) and the factory four-ways ( hazard ) flashers. I also do SkyWarn for Wood and Marathon County and emergency communications. Here's the issue : when I'm out of the truck shoveling , or changing the old lady's tire , etc. I would like a little more visibility on the truck ( which is white and has a cap on the box ) and was considering some hide-away strobes . Here's the problem . The WI motor vehicle code was rather vague on the subject of colors. I KNOW i cannot use red or blue ANYTHING , but some of the local construction companies have clear strobes in their headlights , and the city street department has hideaways in their tails ( in the red section ) . Should I just do ambers all the way around , or would I be ok with the clears so long as I am not moving ? If anyone can help me out here either way , PLEASE let me know.

    Thank you for your time ,
  2. slickchaos

    slickchaos Junior Member
    from Mass
    Messages: 1

    ask the police department is the best way to find out.. they are the ones giving out tickets..

    id check locally and with the state police..

    here in mass, clear strobes are ok in the front but need to be red or amber in the back..
  3. KC9MDQ

    KC9MDQ Member
    Messages: 35

    Good advice , in a normal town . Marshfield is primarily a retirement community , so all of the slick-sleeved rookie cops fresh out of the academy wind up here . . . . in the state of Wisconsin , taxicabs are exempt from the seatbelt law , and I've been stopped in my cab and a ticket ( attempted to be ) issued more times than I care to count. Got to be where our boss had the statute printed out and issued to all drivers to "prove" we weren't b.s'ing the cops , LOL . So , I'd have to find a State Trooper to answer the question. Hoping another resident of WI chimes in here .
  4. BossPlow2010

    BossPlow2010 PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,069

    If you're pulling a car out of the ditch or helping an old lady with flat tire, chances are a cop isn't going to cite you. Around here you aren't even allowed to have your beacon or strobe on when driving down the road.
  5. JD_F250

    JD_F250 Junior Member
    from WI
    Messages: 26

    Hello from WI. Madison area. Im with BossPlow2010 on this one. Im not running strobes or anything like that anymore but ive pulled out plenty of cars from ditches. I even pulled a police cruiser from a median during the winter. I dont think they would give you too much trouble if your helping. Just cruising around with your lights going is another problem. Im going to be running clear in the front and red in the back soon. Ill just deal with it when it comes time.
  6. KC9MDQ

    KC9MDQ Member
    Messages: 35

    Well unless the blade is down , or I'm on a service call , the top light stays off. I know here in WI when travelling from site to site the lights stay OFF , I got that cleared up straight away when I got the truck .I did break the rule two years ago in a winter storm , when travelling westboiund on Highway 29 , there were 16 cars and trucks in the ditch between Wausau and Abbotsford, snow was coming down CRAZY I ran my yellows all the way to Rice Lake , and nobody said a word. Cases like that are extreme , however , and since my truck is white it pretty much disappeared in the storm .I think perhaps I will pick up some hideaway strobes and install in corner lamps and tails . Truck is a 95 Dodge 2500 setup with 1 ton springs , rides like a tank but she gets the job done !:salute:

    Now , I just have to find somewhere to get the equipment. Internets are out , don't use the plastic unless it's an emergency . lol
  7. JD_F250

    JD_F250 Junior Member
    from WI
    Messages: 26

    Ive driven down the I90 with the ambers going. But that was in complete white out conditions. I think that I put strobes in my truck, i will either buy amber strobe tubes or amber LEDs that way no questions. Options, Options, Options.
  8. Too Stroked

    Too Stroked Senior Member
    Messages: 573

    Great advice and I used a similar tactic here in New York state last year. I asked a State Trooper at the local fire house to look at my light bar and tell me if a pair of rear facing red wig-wags were legal. He went back to his Tahoe, looked through a thick book, then came back and said, "Beats the hell out of me. I wouldn't give you a ticket - unless you were driving with them on. But some of my fellow officers can be real pricks." I swapped the filters over to amber.

    I also agree with those that say they don't drive with their amber lights on. The only exception is when it's snowing (or raining) cats & dogs and I want somebody to see me. And then, it's only briefly.
  9. KC9MDQ

    KC9MDQ Member
    Messages: 35

    Yep , that's what I was driving in , we had about 50 foot visibility , and less when the wind would gust.
    I hear ya , JD on the options , there is such a thing as TOO many choices . . LOL

    I'm not going to crazy with lights on it ; it's a fifteen year old rig with over 266,000 miles on it ,
    I should probably be putting money into the plow , as it is I think this will be its last season , i.e. too much to repair , weld , straighten et. al. The strobes and stuff will be nice for when I'm deployed for SkyWarn or acting as a mobile command post , which happens often in the warm season .

    Thanks for the replies everyone ! ! ! They have given me some food for thought !
  10. Too Stroked

    Too Stroked Senior Member
    Messages: 573

    Sometimes it's something simple that does the job. We run single Star mini bars on everything in the fleet. They may not be as sexy as 27 various forms of lighting, but they work. And at about a hundred bucks a pop, they're very cost effective.
  11. JD_F250

    JD_F250 Junior Member
    from WI
    Messages: 26

    Yeah my trucks an 87 with 250,000+ miles on it. It doesnt look the best, it runs a little rough, the exhaust smells, and i only use an old vector lightbar and nothing else. But you know what, it gets the job done. 1 million lights strobing and flashing means nothing if your afraid to put a scratch or a dent in your truck. You can keep your heated seats and gps. But when i clip a corner and fold the bumper up...well thats just another story for me to tell. No worries!
  12. KC9MDQ

    KC9MDQ Member
    Messages: 35

    Vector , as in the seven pod rotator V-Bar ? PSP ( Pennsylvania State Police ) used those for years , they may still . I've been in WI for nine years now , but I recall the visibility on the Vector being awesome because of the configuration .

    I'll probably just build some kind of bracket to mount the dual rotator on top of the ladder rack on the cap of the truck , that's the whole issue ; if you are approaching from behind , especially uphill , the rack blocks my top light thus defeating the purpose of having the darned thing in the first place ! It works great from a forward approach. That's why I was considering some strobes or L.E.D.'s in the first place. If they're in the tails , they're going to be visible anywhere behind the rig .
  13. JD_F250

    JD_F250 Junior Member
    from WI
    Messages: 26

    Yes thats right, 7 pods. The front one flashes white and four others are yellow. Two are not used at this time. It works great. The configuration is awesome, especially from the side. I picked it up from a swap meet in AZ ($75 rewired). It came with red and blue filters but i dont want to give any more money to the county bounty than i have to. Another $75 for amber lenses and i was set. If your only concerned about the rear of the truck, I would pick up a two light set up strobe system and get them in amber, install them in your reverse lights. Then your only running amber, the price is cheaper than buying a 4 light setup and install is easier too.
  14. pongow26

    pongow26 Senior Member
    Messages: 153

    What I did was call my local dealership which also installs lighting. I told them that i found a strobe kit online and wondered if they would match the cost and they will. They are also going to warranty it so therefore, they are responsible and obligated to stay within specs of the law. Askin the cops is a good idea although I know that not all cops know this type of law IE I had a friend that is a ham operator that is with skywarn. We found the state statue that states a ham is allowed to have a scanner in their vehicle. He got pulled over and nearly got In Trouble for the scanner even though my friend gave him a copy of the statue with statue number on it. My point is a dealership is responsible for making many vehicles street legal so they MUST know the laws otherwise they would have alot of problems. Also, Installing yourself only covers the equipment. Having a local dealership install gets you n equipment warranty and install warranty - as long as they will Mach the price of equipment you want
  15. nrplowguy

    nrplowguy Senior Member
    Messages: 130

    take a look at my sig everything is amber but my front strobes they are clear. as long as you dont run any clear up front that alternate you will be fine. i know that cause i had to change my front strobes because of that. but i did get a compliment for the rest of my lights
  16. Dissociative

    Dissociative 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,066

    i think with responsible usage your lights don't pose a problem in ANY state......just depends on who is using them and how....

    as far as getting stuff, either order off net and try to figure the whole system out yourself....OR find a good installer and they can set you up with a DIY kit all pre-wired for you to drop in AND give you pointers on all the locations and tricks to getting a good job the FIRST time on your install.
  17. KC9MDQ

    KC9MDQ Member
    Messages: 35

    The auxiliary lighting installation has been tabled indefinitely due to transmission issues . Thank you , EVERYONE , for your suggestions and comments.
    For those persons interested , the WI Motor Vehicle Code regarding warning lamps can be found here :


    Interestingly enough , I could find nothing specifically regarding plow trucks , so I guess anything other than amber is discretionary . . . . .
  18. hyperjohnny

    hyperjohnny Junior Member
    from 53225
    Messages: 2

    The laws in Wisconsin only allow for amber warning lights to be used when the vehicle is used "for snow and ice control". No other colors are allowed, clear, red, blue, green...nothing. Back in the 50's up until the mid 1960's, snow removal equipment utilized blue in Wisconsin for highway department vehicles, much like Minnesota and some western states but that went away by the late 60's and there's no grandfathering if you have an old truck. The "catch-all" law you could be cited for would be under S/S 347.26 where it states "unless otherwise specifically menttioned in these statutes, no use of flashing warning lights is allowed"... and the only mention of your "use" would apply to the "snow and ice control" specifcally mentioned and AMBER is all you're allowed in the verbage. The guys w/ the strobes in the red taillights and clears in the head/turn or backups lights will be cited after one warning from me to remove them in a resonable amount of time. :) We're talking at or near the roadways here as well. You parking lot jockeys (legally) don't even need a light but I understand why you use them. In addition, if you're not contracted by your municipality to plow the public roads, shut them off between job sites or you'll be cited for that as well.;) If you are to add the "corner strobes" and/or LEDs, order them in amber to save the hassles and fines. All fully understood? Cool. Have fun and pray for snow!
  19. Yooper75

    Yooper75 Senior Member
    Messages: 324

    Going to make a note not to run my hide away strobes in Wisconsin unless I'm local. I've used them a few times on the side of the road and I've never been hassled but most of the LEO's around here know me and my truck so I don't get hassled about much.

    Edite: For the record I'm running clear bulbs in the front head lights and reverse lights.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2012
  20. vegaman04

    vegaman04 Senior Member
    Messages: 378

    So what about this .......


    (a) Any vehicle may be equipped with lamps which may be used for the purpose of warning the operators of other vehicles of the presence of a vehicular traffic hazard requiring the exercise of unusual care in approaching, overtaking or passing, and when so equipped may display such warning in addition to any other warning signals required by this section. The lamps used to display such warning to the front shall be mounted at the same level and as widely spaced laterally as practicable, and shall display simultaneously flashing white or amber lights, or any shade of color between white and amber. The lamps used to display such warning to the rear shall be mounted at the same level and as widely spaced laterally as practicable, and shall show simultaneously flashing amber or red lights, or any shade of color between amber and red. These warning lights shall be visible from a distance of not less than 500 feet under normal atmospheric conditions at night. Directional signals meeting the requirements of this chapter shall be used or lamps meeting these requirements, mounted so as to comply with turn signal installation.