When the weather sours, the dangers related to driving become exponentially more severe. On top of slick road conditions that can cause hydroplaning, one major concern in rainy and snowy weather is reduced visibility. When the weather is really bad, headlights and taillights are sometimes not enough to be seen, and some drivers may resort to using their high beams to increase their own visibility and how well they can be seen by other drivers. But as many drivers who remember their written test can tell you, you’re never supposed to use high beams in snowy, rainy, or foggy conditions. In clear weather, high beams will help you see further ahead. But moisture in the air will actually reflect the bright lights of your high beams back at you, creating glare and making it even harder to see in a fog.
That’s why if you’re very concerned about being able to be seen, it may be worth investing in strobe lights. These lights can be used on top, in the windshield, or on the sides of your car. Some lights can be used on the street in the event that you have come to a stop by the side of the road. In fact, some of the options below are even available in flashing red and blue lights. It should be obvious that you should never use lights like that on public streets unless you’re authorized to do so. Impersonating law enforcement — including their vehicles — is a crime. But for the purposes of emergency preparedness, flashing lights (in the right colors) can be a great addition to your car. These are the ones to get.
1. Xprite Amber Yellow Hazard Warning Strobe Lights
If you work in security or volunteer emergency response, such as as a volunteer firefighter, you may not be supplied with lights that you may need to do your job. That’s why these affordable lights can be helpful. They mount to the inside of the dash using three suction cups, and they have a compact frame so they won’t obstruct your view. Colors include red and white, red and blue, green, and several others. Of course, be mindful of the color you choose. You don’t want to be mistaken for law enforcement if you aren’t. You can also choose white or amber, which will help you be more visible but won’t lead people to mistake you for emergency services.
Pros: Affordable, available in various colors, bright. Mounts to the windshield without taking up too much space.
Cons: Case could be more sturdy.
2. DT Moto LED Mini Light Bar
If you plow snow, you’ll need to make sure you can be seen by other motorists. These lights are specifically marketed as being for plow trucks, but they can be used for a variety of other situations where visibility might be limited. These waterproof lights mount to the roof of your car, and the lights are powered using the car’s cigarette port. Colors include amber, white, and green, as well as blue and red, which you’ll obviously need to be mindful of using to avoid impersonating law enforcement.
Pros: Easy plug and play design, mounts using magnets and is powered through the cigarette port for ease of use.
Cons: Somewhat small, magnets could be stronger.
3. Xprite Gen 3 Amber Yellow Warning LED
Another solid option for the top of your vehicle is this pick from Xprite. It comes in amber or white, and it mounts to the top of a car or truck with magnets. Like some of the other options on this list, it is powered using a cable that plugs into a car’s cigarette port. Buttons on the cigarette port allow you to easily switch between light settings — there are 16 different strobe and flash patterns. It can be a good addition to construction vehicles, snowplow trucks, or just as a way to be better seen.
Pros: Easy installation with magnetic mount and cigarette port charger. 16 different strobe and flashing patterns for maximum visibility or to alert others to hazards.
Cons: Could be brighter.
4. HOKENA LED Road Flares Emergency Lights
A good option if you’re looking for road flares in the event of an emergency stop are these lights from Hokena. This set of three lights includes some bonus accessories like a zippered carrying case, a key tool to change the batteries, a thermal blanket, and even an emergency car window breaker/seatbelt cutter. You can leave them in the road or attach them to your car using the strong included magnets. There are also a variety of flash settings so you can alert other drivers to your presence.
Pros: Affordable LED flares with bonus accessories like a thermal blanket and seatbelt cutter/window breaker.
Cons: Bright for nighttime use, but may not be bright enough in the day.
5. LE-JX Traffic Advisor Light Bar
A good option if you’re looking for a bar of lights, rather than a single light, is this pick. It comes in a range of colors, such as alternating amber and white. The unit uses six suction cups to affix to the roof of your car, and the unit is powered using the car’s cigarette port. There are a variety of flashing modes, and the thin strip lights can be mounted in a variety of places, such as the rear windshield or the roof.
Pros: Vibrant lights in a compact, strip formation, allowing them to be mounted in a few different places. Easy installation. The bar has 32 LEDs.
Cons: Some may not feel comfortable relying only on the suction cups if mounting outside the vehicle, so a workaround may be required.
6. Abrams Blaster Emergency Vehicle LED Strobe Warning Light
This option from Abrams is compact, and it can be mounted in a variety of places, such as the bumper or as a replacement for existing tail or turn signal lights. The light comes in a range of colors and color combinations, like amber, white, red/blue, and green. There are 21 flashing combinations, so you can choose the one that you like the most or that you feel will be most visible. If you buy multiple, the lights can be synced with each other. Unlike some of the options that plug into a cigarette port, this option requires some installation, and the mounting hardware is included.
Pros: Compact and versatile option that can be mounted in a variety of places, built-in flasher with 21 different settings.
Cons: Some installation required.
7. Tobfit 3 Pack LED Road Flares
If you end up having to pull to the side of the road for whatever reason, be it car damage or hazardous road conditions, setting up flares can be a good way to ensure that you’re seen. LED flares, while not as bright, are safer and more practical than pyrotechnic flares. These flares are available as a single flare, or in a pack of three, six or 12. You can set them on the road, but since they have a magnetic base, you can also attach them to your car. There are multiple settings, including blinking, SOS, or steady.
Pros: Good option if you need to make an emergency stop, magnetic flares that attach to your vehicle or can be placed on the side of the road. Pack of three lights, but you can also choose one, six, or 12. Comes with a storage bag.
Cons: Batteries not included, so you must use your own AAAs.