There’s no perfect time for a mechanical breakdown or other reason why you might get stranded on the roadside. But if you had to choose, you would probably avoid nighttime. With decreased visibility, and more tired drivers on the road, you’d rather not have your safety determined by the conditions.
Of course, we can’t choose the time and place of our car’s breakdowns, and so we bring you…drumroll…The Roadside Flare. Towing in New Jersey can be challenging enough in optimal, daytime conditions. When it comes to nighttime towing (not to mention nighttime waiting by the roadside), you need this extra piece of safety to insure an optimal outcome.
Most people have seen flares but few have actually used these safety providing items. While the basic two-step operation of a flare seems straightforward – light it and place it – there are actually several important steps to take before, during and after lighting the flare itself, that can insure a safe outcome of your breakdown adventure.
Here are some tips on proper roadside flare usage:
We’ll start with the most obvious step: Make sure you carry flares in your vehicle! Many emergency driving kits contain flares. You can also buy flares separately.
Before Lighting a Flare
- Always choose a location for your flare first. The last thing you want to do is have a burning flare in your hand with no place to put it. As you probably guessed, you want to avoid placing a flare near grass, vegetation or other flammable materials. A level surface is safest, to avoid rolling; and pavement always helps.Standard procedure is to place multiple flares both in front of and behind your vehicle, stretching 50-100 feet in each direction. For towing in New Jersey and beyond, this array of flares makes it easiest for a tow truck (not to mention other passing vehicles) to spot you. Also, use red-colored flares – these are widely accepted as ‘emergency’ flares, and this vivid color stands out sharply against most surroundings.
- When you’re all set to light your flare, Remove the cap or lid. Do this gently, and you will see the exposed ignition surface. Hold on to that cap! as you will need it
to actually light the flare.
- Hold the flare away from your body and face. Also, try to block any wind by keeping your back to the wind. Hold the flare at its middle, and do not touch the ignition surface at the end of the flare.
Lighting the Flare and What to do Afterward
- Think of the flare as a match and light it accordingly. With a brisk motion, rub the end of the flare against the coarse surface of the saved cap. Your flare should light readily, just like a match.
- Making sure the lit flare points downward, to avoid burning your hand with dripping material; the flare must be kept away from hair and clothing.
- After using the cap to light the flare, place the cap on the other (non-burning) end of the flare.
- Finally, lay the burning flare on the ground. Don’t drop it! as this could cause the flare to roll or even break.
When it comes to towing in New Jersey want you to stay safe, so check your emergency vehicle kit for road flares and keep a copy of the above tips in your vehicle as well.