by: Justin Gray
Nobody wants to find themselves broken down on the road; the feeling of helplessness as other vehicles speedily rush past you - what could be worse than that?...transforming a simple vehicle breakdown into a crash scene!
I'm sure you've never actually thought about it, but there is a specific reason why Police, Fire, Ambulance Crews, and Highway workers all use their vehicles to block traffic, deploy traffic cones, use road flares, and wear bright colored vests; it's all in the name of their safety!
The Safety Zone
Road workers call it the "Safety Zone", Police and Fire call it the "Incident Zone"; no matter the name, it is the area found within the confines of the traffic cones/flares/delineators or positioned vehicles. When stopped on the side of the road, your "Safety Zone" would only be found with you inside of the vehicle. However, calling it a "Safety Zone" is a bit of a misnomer; there is no true "Safety" found within this zone.
Extending your SAFETY ZONE
When a vehicle is stopped on the shoulder, it only has hazard lights to identify itself. This provides a rudimentary warning, but does little to help provide incoming traffic with directions. When using the "3 bi-directional safety devices" as outlined by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), your safety zone can be extended to 3 times or more the original zone; which means your safety margin is potentially increased by 3 or more.
How to properly extend your safety zone
When using LED flares properly in the "Incident Pattern", this provides traffic with clear directions of the hazard ahead and allows time for them to safely maneuver around you and your vehicle. THIS IS MEANT AS A GUIDE, PLEASE SEEK PROPER TRAINING PRIOR TO DEPLOYING SAFETY DEVICES.
- Activate Hazard Lights in vehicle
- Turn on LED Flares
- Walk along shoulder of road (Not in roadway) - ALWAYS pay attention to oncoming traffic
- Flares should make a slight arc pattern when placed (see diagram)
- When safe to do so, place first flare along edge of vehicle closest to traffic about 15 feet behind your vehicle, return to shoulder of road
- When safe to do so, place second flare 20-30 feet behind first flare, then return to shoulder of road
- When safe to do so, place third flare 20-30 feet behind first flare, then return to shoulder of road
- Return to vehicle by walking along the shoulder of the road.
Why chose LED Flares over traditional incendiary road flares?
Law Enforcement, Police, Fire, Ambulance, and Civil Services are making the switch over to LED Flares as opposed to "Fusee" or burning road flares for many reasons:
- Burning road flares cause blinding smoke
- Burning road flares are toxic
- Burning road flares contaminate the soil
- Burning road flares can start wildfires
- Burning road flares burn and damage the road surface
- Burning road flares can ignite oil, gas, fuel, and fumes at accident sites
- Burning road flares are one-time use only
- Burning road flares leave behind a toxic chemical mess
- Burning road flares create their own storage hazard
LED Flares do not create or cause any of the above listed messes. They're safe to touch, do not get hot, do not start fires, are non-toxic, are easy-to-use, and are able to be used indefinitely. Learn more at our other blog - Traditional Road Flares or LED Flares - Which is best?.
Our award-winning flares have been chosen by departments world-wide!
We're very serious when it comes to the safety of people; whether it be professionals working daily alongside rushing freeway traffic, or a person just just trying to make it home after work - ever life is a priority for us and our products.
*This blog is solely intended as an informative reference material and is not legally binding nor is it to be used as definitive legal advice; it is an opinion piece based upon the standards set by the FMCSA and other governing entities. This content is not endorsed or approved by the FMCSA or any other agency.