All Spun Up: Fun With Rock Lights

December 2020 Column Colin Peterson

This article originally appeared in the November 2020 issue.

Underglow neon lights, also known as “rock lights,” are some of the most unique accessories you can add to a vehicle. They illuminate the undercarriage of your truck along with the ground surrounding it; they sometimes make a truck look like it’s floating. Rock lights make great party amenities as well and can make a truck look like a small night club on wheels in the dark. The lights add a lot of character to a vehicle, especially if you’re using your truck for a show. You’ve probably noticed plenty of sophisticated custom diesel trucks with rock lights at different shows and events around the country.

Handy Lights

Rock lights are very cool and eye-catching as their glowing color compositions are so pleasing to the eye, similar to Christmas lights and other holiday decorations. Speaking of which, we’re coming up on the holiday season, so buying a set of rock lights for your truck might not be a bad idea; unless, that is, you find yourself on the naughty list.

Rock lights might also serve as strong safety features in several cases when you’re not driving your truck down a public road. When you’re driving out on the dirt, in the middle of the backwoods, crawling on the rocks, or anywhere remote, rock lights can help provide an easier means to be seen and to get around just like front LED light bars. You can be strategic and place them where you see fit and you’ll light up the trail with flying colors (no pun intended).

Staying Safe

With a lot of freedom, of course, also comes a lot of responsibility, and that saying runs very true when you’re building up or adding accessories to a diesel pickup truck. In most cases, rock lights are not illegal in and of themselves. You just have to use common sense and make sure you’re following the laws that regulate how to use them where you live. In most cases, if you treat rock lights like high-beam headlights, you’ll be fine. However, you might not be able to flash them while driving to tell other drivers to go before you at an intersection or to tell them to turn their high beams off. It’s not necessary and might cause some confusion. Also in many cases, you’ll need to make sure your rock lights are not red or blue when you’re on or exposed to a busy public road, as those are strictly emergency vehicle colors. In some states you have to turn them off altogether while you’re driving because they are illegal while the truck is underway.

Most states have specific laws concerning restrictions on the use of accessory lighting in regards to color, form, type and location on the vehicle. For example, New York only allows the color white for non-mandatory vehicle lighting. On the bright side (again, no pun intended), they would make for a great extra holiday decoration in your driveway. Just make sure they’re not flashing and that you don’t drain your battery. Flashing rock lights should generally only be used at vehicle shows or anywhere that’s out of sight from most of the motoring public. With all said and done, before you decide you’d like to purchase these lights, you may want to first check with your local DMV to avoid potential penalties.

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