Roadside Gear to Have in Trucks
Don’t jump in your cab just yet! Now that you’ve inspected your truck for possible maintenance issues, and have made repairs, it’s time to check on safety accessories that will be helpful if in an emergency. Sure, you can bring jumper cables, flashlights, batteries, blankets, light snacks, and bottles of water, but we’re talking more about those roadside essentials that will let others know that you have a broken-down truck: Triangle kits and road flares. Below, we’ll examine the difference between them and discuss whether they are mandatory for drivers to carry in commercial vehicles.
Road flares are light road candles that illuminate from the ground via a match and are recommended in low visibility, nighttime, and emergency circumstances. When drivers see road flares, they immediately know that a pulled over vehicle has a problem. That’s because road flares are the universal sign of distress. The Traffic Safety Store states that road flares reduce the speed of passing vehicles (average 16 percent reduction speed). Traditional road flares last on average 30 minutes but can range anywhere from 15 minutes to 40 minutes; however, nowadays, LED road flares are a better option for drivers as they can last up to 40 hours.
Triangle reflective kits are designed for the environmentally conscious driver that may be worried about the after-effect’s road flares have on the environment. Drivers can use the reflective triangles over again and won’t have any issues with set-up or tear down. They are lightweight and portable. Three is the magic number for a truck driver to carry and use.
When on the side of the road, placing reflective warning triangles around the truck’s location will alert passing vehicles of a problem. Paper Transport recommends adding triangles around a truck based on the location of the truck. For divided highways, three triangles are used: The first one will be placed 10 feet behind the truck; the second placed 100 feet behind the truck and the third placed 200 feet behind the truck. On a two-way road, three triangles will again be used following these distances: The first triangle placed 100 feet in front of the truck; the second placed 10 feet behind the truck and third placed 100 feet behind the truck. These parts should not be placed in a straight line but rather moving further away from the tire and closer to the curb.
Are These Items Required?
According to the FMCSA, warning devices including warning triangles and road flares (fusee flares) must be placed in three locations within 10 minutes of an accident or emergency:
- One on the traffic side, four paces (approximately 10 feet) from the vehicle, in the direction of approaching traffic.
- One in the center of the traffic lane or shoulder, 40 paces (approximately 100 feet) from the vehicle, in the direction of approaching traffic
- One in the center of the traffic lane or shoulder, 40 paces (approximately 100 feet) from the vehicle, in the direction away from approaching traffic.
“If flares are used, the driver is responsible for ensuring that at least one flare remains lit at each location as long as the vehicle is stopped.”
Where To Find Safety Components
Match Made is a top choice for warning triangle kits as they come with some safety features that other brands may lack. Triangle kits from Match Made contain a durable fluorescent orange plastic with red reflective that are highly visible with a heavy-weighted sand filled base for stability against wind. They meet FMVS 12 and SAE/DOT requirements and come with a desirable warranty. Shop Match Made!