4 Wheel drive
I have amber lights lit up on the display on the rear wheels. Does this mean the 4 wheel drive is activated?
Let me correct myself. I'm thinking your escape is a front wheel . So in that case it's a yes your four wheel is on.
Four wheel drive vehicles are rear wheel drive, this light is telling you you are in two wheel drive. There are two types of ford Escape models four wheel drive rear in two and front wheel drive.
but does the amber light tell me that it is driving in 4 wheel or that it is just on if needed?
The light will show four tires which tells you all wheels are engaged and it is in four wheel drive. Two shows that the vehicle is engaged in two wheel.
If it was a front wheel drive the lights would be light in front so two wheels in back, two wheel rear wheel drive, two wheels in the front two wheel drive front wheel drive, four tires light up four wheel drive. If you have not engaged four wheel drive it will not engaged unless your vehicle is equipped with all wheel which is then using predominantly front wheel drive until the ecm senses slippage which will engage four or all wheels to help stabilize the vehicle.