WORK TRUCK LIGHTS
Three great light upgrades that will keep you ahead of the safety curve on the darkest nights and in the worst weather
by Bruce W. Smith
It’s dark. The rain is coming down in blinding sheets. The highway traffic is heavy and drivers in a hurry to be somewhere are moving way too fast. It’s prime accident conditions.
If you slow down, those coming up behind are apt to plow into the back of your truck. Turn on the high beams to give yourself a greater margin of reaction time to what’s ahead and the factory headlights make visibility even worse. What to do.
It’s a safety dilemma we have all faced more than once.
An excellent way to bring the greatest margin of safety into such a scenario is employing a trio of aftermarket lights: a mini light bar of roof-mounted LED strobes, and HID driving lights combined with HID low-beam headlights.
That’s the combo we upgraded Project Bedrock with in preparation for the upcoming winter driving season (and for handling the severe thunderstorms that frequent the south and mid-west during the summer months.)
That way our 2011 GMC Sierra’s lighting can be utilized to meet whatever the weather throws at us.
BUYER’S LED MINI LIGHT BAR
To keep those around us fully aware where Bedrock is on the road, we installed Buyer’s Products new LED Mini Light Bar.
This compact, yet highly efficient light bar has no less than 30 one-watt, high-intensity LEDs around its low-profile octagonal shape.
The lights can be programmed in 25 different patterns and is powered through a 9.5-foot power cord that we have plugged in to the GMC’s power receptacle at the rear of the center console.
Buyer’s Product’s Mini Light Bar comes with four heavy-duty magnets for fast, easy roof mounting, too.
But we opted to utilize the threaded inserts in the light bar’s base to bolt it directly to the Backbone headache rack so it wouldn’t scratch the roof — and so it could’t be ripped off should the truck be left unattended.
Now when we are in a dangerous driving situation where visibility is severely hampered, we just flip the switch and the LEDs instantly come to life. The 30 flashing amber LEDs leave no doubt of Bedrock’s location.
ORACLE HID HEADLIGHT UPGRADE
The second light upgrade that works great improving any pickup’s lighting is converting the OE low-beam bulbs to Oracle’s HID bulbs. The difference in light output is nothing short of amazing.
The kit we used in our GMC Sierra is the 35W Xenon HID kit ($279) to replace the factory 9006 bulbs. Oracle’s HIDs have a lifetime warranty, too.
Oracle Lighting’s kit, which comes in a nifty metal carrying case, includes the ballasts and wiring harness for easy installation (the headlight assemblies s are pulled out to swap the bulbs).
We opted for the “6000 Kelvin” light output, which is close to daylight color instead of the dull yellow the factory bulb produces. They also reach out farther than the high beams.
Daylight white at night dramatically improves driver vision without blinding on-coming traffic. And when properly adjusted, they do a great job penetrating fog and rain.
WARN HID DRIVING LIGHTS
The third part of the lighting trinity is the addition of Warn Industry’s W400-HID driving lights. They are wireless and throw out an intense been of white light more than a football field-length down the road.
We choose these particular lights because they are compact (they don’t block air flow to the radiator) and because they put out about 10 times more light than a 55W bulb.
Installation is similar to Oracles: plug and play. What makes it even nicer for fleets is there’s no need to run wiring in the cab; the witch is remote controlled, so there’s no wiring needed between the light’s ballast and the cab.
Flip the W400s on and highway signs and markers appear to pop out of nowhere long before the truck gets to them.
We mounted the Warn 400-HIDs mid-way down on Bedrock’s Go-Industries’ grille guard/winch mount so they were below the headlights.
That way, in bad weather, the HIDs penetrate below the low-beam headlights, increasing vision when vision is needed most.
This trio of light upgrades makes a tremendous difference in visibility from the driver’s seat of any work truck–and the driver can chose any combination of them to maximize visibility with the flip of a couple switches. — ProPickup