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Safety Question

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by sailscall01, Nov 15, 2005.

  1. sailscall01

    sailscall01 Member
    Messages: 66

    This will be my first season plowing and I have seen other plowers with safety lights attached to the top of their trucks. My question is, what do you guys prefer strobe blinking lights or the rotating lights.. What else could you recommend for a new guy when it comes to being seen at night.. Thanks for all your help in advance.:salute:
  2. go plow

    go plow Senior Member
    Messages: 322

    i have been plowing for many years now, ive tried many lights, remember this, lights or no lights on your truck, people will still park in your way, people will still see that your backing up in a parking lot and still pull up behind you, so i guess what im tying to say is dont think that because you have lights on your truck your safe!!!! always keep an eye on things, ive plowed a condo at 2am thinking that nobody will be in and out at that time, and i still ended up backing into a car that pulled up behind me waiting for me to clean his parking spot!!!!! as for what i use for lights, i use led's, keep it safe and hope you do well this year!!! good luck
  3. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    It's preference- you'll get 100 opinions each differeing on which to use. It's your first season I would recomend something effective but relativly inexpensive- like a single magnet strobe or a small rotating light bar. Strobe can be had for around $50, small lightbar for around $100. Lightbar will give more light.
  4. Herz

    Herz Junior Member
    Messages: 4

    I had a strobe and a revolving. Strobe was quiet, but only lasted a couple seasons. Rotating light is a little noisy, but keeps on working. Both were cheap.
  5. mrplowdude

    mrplowdude Senior Member
    Messages: 315

    I run LEDs because of the low draw. A single strobe does the job though. you will probably replace it with something your next year until you find what works for you. I started with rotaters, then strobes now LEDs. Seems every year something new.
  6. derekbroerse

    derekbroerse 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

    My truck had a mini-lightbar with two rotators in it when I bought it. It was a few years old then, and has five or six more on it now. Never had to change so much as a lightbulb.... even being whacked with tree branches while plowing!!

    My vote is for rotators for their sheer durability.
  7. golden arches

    golden arches Senior Member
    Messages: 193

    There is no question that LED's will have the lowest draw and will have the least impact on your truck. If I ever have to replace my strobe, I'll go LED if only for the "cool" look.

    But I've had a Federal strobe for over 6 years - used every year for all season work. We work on construction sites during the summer which requires the strobe to be on for hours at a time. Never had a failure (now watch it fail this year!).

    Mag mount, wired into switch. Key is not dropping it.
  8. ratlover

    ratlover PlowSite.com Addict
    from IL
    Messages: 1,325

    For just plowing snow you should never burn out a halogen rotator. Sure LED lights last longer by far but how often do you change your headlights? They run a bit longer than you will ever run your whirly light.
  9. golden arches

    golden arches Senior Member
    Messages: 193

    More of a case of personal preference. Your are right, the rotators last. I like strobes based on fewer moving parts, run cooler & less drawage. My truck will sit for hours with the strobe on before I have to recharge the battery.

    LED's - seem to last forever, which is one of the reasons most major truckers are moving into them dispite the extra initial cost of purchase. Just watch the tail lights on the highway.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2005
  10. Ken1zk

    Ken1zk Senior Member
    Messages: 192

    In addition to rotators this season I've added reflective tape like they use on semi trailers. Not pretty but other drivers can see it a mile away. Now my truck is strictly for work, if I used my daily driver for snow I never would have covered it in the ugly tape.
  11. Frozen001

    Frozen001 Senior Member
    from Rome NY
    Messages: 908

    I know LEDs are the latest and greatest, but they to not seem to draw my attention like a strobe or rotator... Most of the ones I have seen on Police cars are bright at night, but during the day, they seem to loose there ability to draw attention to the vehicle they are on... Just my $0.02 worth...
  12. go plow

    go plow Senior Member
    Messages: 322

    FROZEN, your right! my leds, are very bright at night, but when they are on durring the day, you cant really see them at all!!!!!! my leds cost over $400.00, and my little stobe that i had on the roof was like $50.00 whos the dummy??? ME!!!! ME ME LOL LOL
  13. Mowerpan

    Mowerpan Senior Member
    Messages: 305

    You must have some crappy led's then. Mine were cheapo ones, and during the day there not near as effective but there still bright, but your true there not as effective. I think the best/most effective setup is 4 way hidden strobes(seen then on a volunteer firefighters truck at work very brigth even in the day) and a good dual rotator. Just my personal opinion.
  14. golden arches

    golden arches Senior Member
    Messages: 193

    I have LED's on the back of my car hauler & they are very bright day and night. I was thinking about installing them on the back of the spreader, but haven't decided if it was worth the costs. ($45.00 each on ebay.)

    Local cops are using them on the light bars and bubble gum and from what I've seen they are bright = but those are on the $1200 bars (our tax moneys at work).

    Key is get something on your truck .. while not always effective, it's a cheap way to be noticed.

    Ken1zk - I lived in Lockport for 10 years. My son is up there too. You have a good idea on the tape - it's called 3M safety tape (I think). It's expensive, and it's ugly.. but it's effective! Good thinking on your part.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2005
  15. derekbroerse

    derekbroerse 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

    In addition to the rotator on my second truck this year I am experimenting with four blue stand-alone mini-strobes, one mounted to each taillight housing, and two behind the grille...

    They were designed for the Ricer crowd for underbody lighting, so hopefully they can take a bit of a beating but we'll see. They were cheap enough to be totally disposable if they fail, a whopping $8 each on clearance at Princess Auto.

    Even without the rotator, there is basically no excuse to miss this rolling monstrosity.....

    You'll always have idiots out there anyways--like that woman two winters ago who backed out into the side of my truck as I drove by.... with the plow on, rotators, reverse lights/beeper, and a really LOUD broken exhaust pipe.... Then she got out and said 'Look what you did to my car!' :rolleyes:
  16. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    I never knew so many places use blue lights for plowing. Blue is strictly for police here. I think amber is a much better choice, since amber light travels through the air better, especially in poor visibility conditions. Blue is the worst color in the spectrum for travelling through the air. Ever approach an accident scene or construction zone and notice how the amber lights seem bigger and brighter, followed by red, then lastly blue?
  17. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    Rotators do draw a lot more power, and wont last as long, but they will last plenty long enough for plowing. Strobes use very little power, and last for a long long time, but they can be blinding when they reflect back at you off the falling snow, etc. LEDs use even less power, might be a little overkill and they are pretty costly. I notice sometimes people go a little overboard on lights (myself included) I try to remember that the goal of plow lights is not to move traffic out of the way like an ambulance or a police car, but to alert traffic to your presence. If you blind them with a $2000 lightbar, you are more dangerous than plowing with nothing. Last year I was following a line of cars and had to come to almost a complete stop on a 2 lane highway because some yahoo coming the other way had a 12 head amber LED lightbar all lit up in a light mist, and effectively blinded all the oncoming traffic. This was a good 12 hours after the snow stopped falling. I see no reason to run the lights between jobs, in fact it is illegal in NH to do so. I have used rotators and strobes, fullsize and mini lightbars in the past, this year I will be using a 2 rotator minibar on the roof and two 15 inch LED strips mounted between the tailgate and bumper. This way I can turn off the bar for doing driveways at night, if I'm going to be shining it into peoples bedroom windows, and still have the rear facing LEDs flashing for when I back out into the road.
  18. derekbroerse

    derekbroerse 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,377

    Snowplowing has always been blue here(that goes for Ministry plow trucks as well). Construction and tow trucks use amber, cops/firetrucks/ambulances use red, and volunteer firemen use green. Ontario Hydro started using red recently, really messed people up. Don't know if they changed back to amber or not.

    Blue travels just fine in the snow... and its probably easier on the eyes in the dark than amber.

    I always turn my lights off when I'm not actually plowing.

    People may be able to manage to ignore the rotator bar, but the strobes will be around eye-level when sitting in a car... and during the daylight when the cars are around me in the parking lot, they aren't so blinding... just enough to get your attention.
  19. Detroitdan

    Detroitdan PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,937

    Its turned into a CF here. Everybody wants to run all different colors, and you lose the instant recognition that way. A lot of ambulances, fire trucks and public works trucks, wanting to get more attention, now use police blue to the rear to scare people into thinking its a cop. Most police cars now have red and or amber to the rear because it is more visible than just blue. It drives me nuts, I want to see it standardized back to the way it used to be here, red has always meant fire/EMS, whether F/T or volunteer, blue is strictly police, amber is for any non-emergency, non traffic clearing vehicles such as construction, tow trucks and plows.
    I better not ever come up your way when it snows, with all those blue lights going, I'd be constantly pulling over!
  20. justme-

    justme- 2000 Club Member
    Messages: 2,138

    Detroitdan it's the same way south of you too- MA has blue and/or red for Police, red and blue for fire and red and blue for ambulance- many police units are strictly blue and many fire are strictly red, but they are legally able to use both if the locality wants to. All emergency (traffic clearing) can use white strobes too and most do in at least wig wags. Tow trucks, construction, plows, etc are amber and are legally only to run amber but many guys have hideaways in the tail lights making red or in the front clear turn lights making white which are both ticketable IF the cop's want to- again depends on your local.

    I have a friend that is a volunteer fireman- he has red lights on his personal trucvk (legal within responding to a call) and he was pulled and cited by a local one day for improper use of emergancy lights because the cop was an a-**** and the letter of the law is "emergancy vehicles only", a personnal vehicle is not considered one even for that reguardless howmany normal cops will never bother a VF on call.

    Personally I hate the LED strobes- they bug my eyes- even the Caddi tail lights being LED irritate my eyes- I think it's the immediate on/off characteristic instead of the barely there brighten and dim of an incandescant bulb. I know alot of people that are irritated by the LED's so I wonder if they really are more effective versus the possible "blind driver" risk.
    Many local PD's around here have stayed with strobes and I have never seen anambulance or fire with LED.