On the driving theory test, you may get asked about what colour flashing beacons certain emergency vehicles may display. These flashing lights are used on vehicles that may cause a distraction or interference with traffic.

Vehicle lights

Orange / Amber
Vehicles with flashing amber beacons are slow movie vehicles or assistance / recovery / maintenance vehicles that include:

  • Road maintenance
  • Highway maintenance
  • Road clearance
  • Breakdown recovery
  • Vehicles that are wider than 2.9 metres
  • Surveying vehicles
  • Vehicles with a maximum speed of 25 miles per hour

The only vehicle that will display a green flashing beacon is a doctor’s car that is responding to an emergency.

All other emergency vehicles will display a blue flashing beacon. Vehicles that will display this light include:

  • Police
  • Fire service
  • Ambulance
  • Bomb disposal
  • Blood transfusion
  • Mountain rescue
  • Cave rescue
  • Mine rescue
  • Nuclear emergency
  • Coastguard
  • HM Revenue & Customs (for serious crimes only)

Here is a simple way to learn the siren colours: Blue is for emergency vehicles that save lives, green is for doctors, amber is for slow moving assistance vehicles or vehicles that may cause an obstruction.

Traffic Priority

Vehicles with flashing blue lights are likely to be moving very quickly, and do have priority over other road users. If you see a vehicle with blue flashing lights, you should pull over when it is safe to do so and allow it to pass.

Vehicles with flashing orange lights are slow moving vehicles that may cause an interference with traffic. They do not have priority over other road traffic however you may need to slow down or even stop for them as they complete a manoeuver. Remember to remain patient for these vehicles as they cannot move as quickly as you can.

Doctor’s cars that display the green flashing light may be driving quickly, but they also do not have priority over other road users.

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