Emergency Flares For Road & Highway Usage

road flare emergency flare safety flare information

The Use Of Road Flares At Accident Scenes

Safety professionals have come to rely on road flares when they want to warn oncoming traffic and motorists about an accident site ahead. Flares were first used in the railroad industry to signal train conductors about how close they were to a train ahead of them.

Since their original development, we have found new and innovative ways to use flares for a variety of uses. From shipping and outdoor survival, people use lit safety flares for many reasons. However, one use that stands out is when traffic professionals and emergency responders use safety flares at accident scenes. 

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Image Source: https://www.firerescuemagazine.com/articles/print/volume-4/issue-10/firefighter-safety-and-health/safe-roadway-operations.html

Unlike other products on the market, road flares are a constant source of bright light, and when used appropriately, they can help keep the accident site safe. Let’s take a look at what makes road flares unique and some important information to keep in mind as you deploy safety flares on the road. 

Why Road Flares Are Perfect For Accident Sites

Emergency responders use highway flares for a variety of reasons. These flares can be used to improve visibility at an accident scene and help reduce the speed of oncoming traffic.

Emergency responders, police offers, and firefighters should carry flares in their emergency response kits for emergencies.

Emergency personnel can use highway flares to warn oncoming traffic about obstacles in the road, guide additional emergency vehicles, and even road closures. When placed correctly, you can channel traffic around obstacles in the roadway and help guide traffic around accident sites safely.

Road flares offer many benefits for situations that require control and clear visibility. Here are a few reasons emergency responders have come to rely on flares:

  • Bright Signal: Flares are an excellent warning signal because they are more than 5x brighter than their electric alternatives.
  • Independent Light Source: Professionals need a light source that can be seen in fog, rain, and the snow and can’t risk safety because of dead batteries. Road flares are self-illuminating and do not depend on other sources of energy.
  • Quick & Easy To Deploy: Emergency flares are easy to store, manage, and deploy. Once you know handling basics, you will be able to use flares without much effort.
  • Does Not Distract Or Blind: You need bright light to get the attention of bypassing vehicles, but you can’t risk distracting drivers. A road flare offers a steady flicker that gets attention quickly but does not add confusion to an emergency area.
  • Universally Understood: Getting the attention of bypassing vehicles is essential, especially in the early moments of arriving at an accident scene. You can gain control over a hectic situation with a flare because everyone knows that flares stand for danger and they will pay more attention when in the immediate area.

The light that is emitted from a road flare provides a bright light that can be seen from great distances and even in poor conditions like snow storms and heavy rain.

This means that the flare is bright enough to be seen at great distances, but the combustible compounds are also resilient enough to work in almost any weather conditions.

Safety Considerations When Using Emergency Flares

Flares are an excellent signaling device, but they need to be appropriately placed to ensure oncoming traffic and pedestrians are aware of hazards in the area.

It can be challenging to remember how far you should put highway flares from an accident scene, but there are two simple equations that you can use to determine the distances to place flares from vehicles in the accident area.

Speed Equation Example
Under 50 MPH MPH x Factor of 4 30 MPH x 4 = 120 Feet
Over 50 MPH MPH x Factor of 4 + 100 60 MPH x 4 + 100 =340 Feet

Road Flares are a vital part of any emergency kit, and traffic professionals have come to trust safety flares for use in any weather and almost any need.

Since they are so strong, you should remember a few safety points when using flares in the environment.

  • When you remove the cap to strike the flare, you should make sure that you hit the proper side of the flare. This will act as a match striking a matchbook, so be prepared for the flare to light up almost immediately.
  • After lighting the flare you should hold them with the bright side of the flare pointed down and away from your body. You should not carry the flare with the bright side up since it could drop smoldering embers on your clothes and burn you.
  • You should place lit flares in a flat area and position it, so the flare does not roll after being placed on the ground.
  • Do not place a road flare near an accident scene or near combustible materials like grass or flammable liquids.
  • Once the flare is no longer needed, you should put out active emergency flare before you leave the accident scene. The easiest way to put out a road flare is to tap the flame side of the flare on the road, and it should break apart and go out.

Road Flare Safety To Remember

Safety is an essential part of getting control over an accident scene. You can follow the above safety tips when handling, position, and disposing of a safety flare to make sure you reduce any risks.

Be sure to maintain proper positioning and use the safety flares properly to ensure you can contain an accident scene and improve safety!

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Author: Chris Giarratana

Chris is a Digital Media Strategy and AdWords management consultant in Orlando, FL. He develops marketing strategies for small businesses, researches emerging technologies, and enjoys studying transportation issues.

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