Emergency warning devices

fender bender - safety triangle

The Bureau of Motor Carrier Safety requires that emergency warning devices be placed on the highway within 10 minutes of bringing a disabled vehicle to a halt. All vehicles should be equipped with acceptable warning devices. At the present time, bi-directional reflective triangles are being recommended. Flares, lanterns, and other type reflectors can be used as supplements to the triangles, but not as a substitute for them. Remember that any flame producing warning devices should not be used on vehicles transporting flammable liquids, explosives, or compressed gases.

If vehicles must be stopped on the shoulder of an undivided street or highway with two way traffic, one warning device should be placed 10 feet to the front or rear of the vehicle depending upon the direction of approaching traffic. The second device should be placed 100 feet from the stopped vehicle in the center of the traffic lane or shoulder occupied by the vehicle and in a direction toward traffic approaching in that lane The third should be placed 100 feet from the vehicle in the direction of traffic coming from the other direction. 

On a divided highway or a street with one way traffic, one warning device should be placed 10 feet to the rear of the vehicle, one device at a distance of 100 feet and one at a distance of 200 feet in a direction toward approaching traffic in the center of the lane or shoulder occupied by the vehicle. If a motor vehicle is stopped within 500 feet of a curve, crest of a hill or other obstruction, a warning device should be placed at a distance of 100 feet to 500 feet from the vehicle in the direction of the obstruction. The other devices should be placed at 10 feet and 100 feet intervals toward approaching traffic.

The proper placement of warning devices during emergencies is an important function of a vehicle driver. Be sure adequate warning devices are available in your vehicles.

fender bender - safety triangle
This document is intended for general information purposes only, and should not be construed as advice or opinions on any specific facts or circumstances. The content of this document is made available on an “as is” basis, without warranty of any kind. This document can’t be assumed to contain every acceptable safety and compliance procedures or that additional procedures might not be appropriate under the circumstances. Markel does not guarantee that this information is or can be relied on for compliance with any law or regulation, assurance against preventable losses, or freedom from legal liability. This publication is not intended to be legal, underwriting, or any other type of professional advice. Persons requiring advice should consult an independent adviser. Markel does not guarantee any particular outcome and makes no commitment to update any information herein, or remove any items that are no longer accurate or complete. Furthermore, Markel does not assume any liability to any person or organization for loss of damage caused by or resulting from any reliance placed on that content.

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