Sweep light requirements
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Thread: Sweep light requirements

  1. #1

    Default Sweep light requirements

    Last year I joined NW Rally E-Crew just in time to help at the Mt Hood Rally. I was hoping someone could clarify the specific light requirements for sweep vehicles. The only thing I could find on the RA site in the Safety Ops Manual was kinda vague on light requirements:
    The following equipment shall be required in all course closing vehicles:
    Rotating/flashing beacon
    Accurately calibrated odometer
    Official rally time
    Fire extinguisher of 10 BC rating or greater
    Extremely reliable rally net communications
    Warning triangles
    First aid kit
    An official route book
    I already have a halogen light bar, but with 4 months till the next event, I was thinking of putting together my own low profile lightbar that will fit under the Yakima load bars using generic LED strobes and a controller - that way I can fit a low profile basket on top of the load bars. Do I have to have a lightbar or can I use individual light pods set to flash alternately? Do I have to have rear facing lights or are front and side enough? Just amber OK or red also necessary? I understand visibility is the whole reason for the lights, but would grill mount strobes be OK?

    This is what I have currently:

    . . . so would individual led strobe pods be acceptable or should I just keep the lighbar? I'm guessing the best answer is "just keep the lightbar"
    Any info would be appreciated, thanks

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  3. #2
    into right 2 tightens
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Springfield MO


    I don't think sweep vehicles have been through scruteneering at any event I’ve ever been to. I've done 00,000, Med sweep, Heavy Sweep, and Safety sweep in four different cars/trucks. The only time I've ever had a strobe was running safety sweep, providing coverage right behind last car on the road, before med, heavy and green light. Other times I just ran with flashers on.

    I personally am not a fan of anyone other than on duty LEOs running reds or blues, but that just me.

    The only car that by definition HAS to have a light is Green Light
    Oskar-the Citation.

    "It ain't what a man Don't know that hurts Him, Near as much as what he Knows that just ain't so."
    -Mark Twain

  4. #3
    100 K left 2
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Michigan, USA

    Default my two cents

    You're probably over-thinking it, but I tend to do that too, and so will add my 2 cents... :-)

    (Note that my experience is based on rallys in Michigan only; not sure how it's done elsewhere.)

    Many heavy sweep trucks run with just a simple magnetic-mount plug-into-the-lighter blinky light (round strobe or a revolving light). Nothing fancy at all. And frankly, if they don't have one on hand, they sometimes just run with hazards on. I think it looks nicer with the blinky light of course. It's also nice to have a sign that says "sweep" or something so workers who don't recognize you know what your function is.

    As for direction, I actually think it's most important for blinky lights to be visible from behind in this situation. You don't usually need to clear people from in front of you while sweeping a rally stage, but sometimes you will be on the side of a busy highway (transit) trying to help a competitor. Protecting yourself from being rear-ended by civilian traffic is more important than warning rally stage people (who are already expecting you) that you're coming, IMHO.

    As for color, amber is the only way to go. I assume that many jurisdictions would frown on any other color, and the implications of other colors might cause people to think something bad has happened on the stage. So unless you're a medical type, keep it amber only.

    Obviously, green light is the exception, since its lights have to be green by definition. But again, a simple magnetic mount light will do.

    (I also took the somewhat overkill step of installing a light bar on my truck, exclusively for rally use. It has amber filters in most of the time, but I can change them to green for when I'm lucky enough to get a green light assignment.)

    IMHO, the most important thing to have in a heavy sweep truck is a reliable ham radio, in order to maintain communications with the net. Preferably, one that's permanently and properly installed. A temporary installation is prone to failure when the radio is being bounced around on a stage, and the last thing you want to do is to have to hold the radio with one hand and drive with the other. (As a sometimes Net Control, I can tell you that being unable to communicate with your sweep teams is extremely frustrating, and can cause delays in the event.)

    Of course, it's best to just ask the organizer(s) of the event(s) you plan to work if they have any specific requirements or opinions. It's really up to them -- like was mentioned, I've never heard of sweep vehicles having to pass an inspection, so it's the organizer's discretion.

    Have fun!

    Jim Foster, NJ8F

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  6. #4


    Thanks for the replies. This is all just preliminary thinking and I'd like to keep up with the level of professionalism that the rest of the NW Rally ECrew has. That, and I also use my truck for volunteer SAR, so visibility is good good at times. I think I'll just take it up with the guys in the group and see what their input is.

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