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mowens's avatar

Why do police cars in movies now a days have lights above them that look different than the real ones I see?

Asked by mowens (8353points) February 20th, 2010

In movies, police cars have lights that are in sort of a V shape. In real life, I have never seen this pattern before. Movie police cars used to look more real… was a law put in place to make sure the cop cars did not look real?

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6 Answers

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I haven’t seen this, but now that you mention it… with the more frequent use of aerial policing in helicopters and spotter planes, the V-shaped lightbar ought to become a standard. That way an aerial spotter can tell at a glance at night time the direction of travel of the cars on the ground that he may be called upon to direct. Now that you mention it, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see it adopted coast-to-coast on future police (and other emergency end similarly-lighted) vehicles.

filmfann's avatar

Hollywood has money for new vehicles. Most city and county governments don’t.

john65pennington's avatar

V-shaped patterns are strictly for the use of Hollywood cameras. real police cars use straight across bars in order to be seen from the front and behind, by other motorists. visiualize a V-shaped bar on a real police car. driving behind the police car, you would not see its blue lights. its strictly Hollywodd, what else can i say.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

Cuz it looks all purty ;)

andrew's avatar

Actually, they are used on real police cars (see here). @filmfann has it. It’s a newer technology thing (and probably a department choice).

The benefit of V-shaped vector housing is that you get better visibility from 45 and 90 degrees. Google search on vector light bar gives you more resources.

YARNLADY's avatar

@filmfann Funny, I was thinking just the opposite. Most places change out their police cars ever other year or so, and nearly all have recently switched to the LED lights which are cheaper to operate and give much more visibility.

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