Lightbar may be used as warning light when towing
Question: I got a lightbar a few months and use it on my pick-up which I use to tow a trailer with an ATV, used for plowing snow, on it. The lights on the lightbar are amber except for 3 segments facing the rear on each side. These segments are red and are tied into the regular tail/brake/signal lighting system. When I turn on the lightbar only the amber lights flash. Is this legal or not? Also is there a brightness limit?
Answer: According to statute 169.59 Sb 4 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 or section 169.50, subdivision 1 or 3 (taillights & reflectors); 169.56, subdivision 1, 2, 3, or 4 (auxiliary lights such as fog lights); 169.57, subdivision 1 (brake and signal lights); or 169.64, subdivision 3 (prohibits colored/bright and flashing lights, except those allowed by this statute).
The lamps used to display such warnings to the front shall be mounted at the same level and as widely spaced laterally as practicable, and shall display simultaneous flashing white or amber lights, or any shade of color between white and amber. The lamps used to display such warnings 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.
(Up to this point we are basically talking about the 4-way flashers on your car. But now the statue goes on to say.)
Instead of a pair of lamps that flash simultaneously, either one or two strobe lights or rotating beacon lights with an amber or yellow lens may be used both to the front and rear of the vehicle. These warning lights shall be visible from a distance of not less than 500 feet under normal atmospheric conditions at night.
You mentioned that the lights on your bar "flash" and therefore I think it may technically come down to this. Are those "flashing" lights a strobe light or rotating beacon type light? If so then I say yes they are legal. If not then it appears they are technically not legal. It may sound like I am splitting hairs but that is how I read the statute.
For this reason I strongly suggest that before you get such a thing contact the State Patrol or your local PD to see what the requirements/prohibitions are. And I want to point out the statute allows for the use of such lights "for the purpose of warning the operators of other vehicles of the presence of a vehicular traffic hazard requiring the exercise of unusual care."
You do not get to turn on the pretty lights because you are in a jolly mood or its Christmas.
Parents don't just hand over the keys to your new driver. Please take the time to ride with them and let them gain experience before allowing them to face the dangers of a public road on their own.
If you have any questions concerning traffic related laws in Minnesota send your questions to Trooper Andy Schmidt, Minnesota State Patrol, 1000 Highway 10 West, Detroit Lakes, MN 56501-2205, or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.