Understanding Your Car’s Emergency Lights

It may come as a surprise to many car owners, but emergency lights have a meaning. These lights are mounted in almost all automobiles as part of driver-assistance technology. This article describes the different types of emergency lights and what they mean for you.

Brake Warning

If you see one or more of your car's emergency lights flashing, this could mean that there’s an issue with your brakes. The red light indicates that the electronic stability control has been disabled, and the yellow light means that the ABS has been disabled. The white light indicates that there’s no power to either of these systems.

Low Fuel Warning

When you see your car’s emergency lights flashing, it could mean that your vehicle needs to refuel. The flashing lights are a warning sign that your car is low on fuel and needs to be filled up.

The best way to avoid this problem is to keep an eye on the fuel gauge. If it’s below a quarter tank, fill up before driving long distances or running errands. It’s also important to keep track of how many miles you’ve driven since filling up last. The more miles you go without refilling, the more likely you’re to run into problems.

Battery Alert Indicator

If your car's emergency lights are flashing, you may have a problem with the battery. The lights will flash in a pattern that indicates the battery is low on power. They may also indicate that there’s an issue with the alternator. This can happen if your car has been running for a long time.

Tire Pressure Warning

If your car’s emergency lights come on and stay on, it could indicate that a tire pressure warning has been triggered. This could mean that one of your tires is low on air, which means you need to get it checked out ASAP.

The most common cause of a reduction in tire pressure is a slow leak in one of your tires. If the tire loses a lot of pressure, it won’t be able to support the weight of your vehicle and will start vibrating. This can damage your steering alignment and suspension system.



It never hurts to brush up on basic car safety procedures and take the extra step of learning what your car's emergency lights mean and how to react. Safety is always a concern in driving, and understanding the signs can go a long way toward mitigating those risks.