The other day I was talking to a friend about what to carry in your car and the subject of road flares came up. He had none. Now I know that most people only think of flares in relation to a traffic accident, but they do have other good uses.
First, let’s discuss their designed use, for warnings others of accidents. I recommend everyone carry several in their vehicle. In case of a accident they should be placed in the road to warn others.
To determine the placement of the first flare, the one furthest from the vehicle, take the posted speed limit and multiply by a factor of 4, at 30 miles per hour = 30 x 4 means your furthest flare should be 120 ft.
If the speed limit is over 50 mph, multiply that speed by 4 and add 100 to get the furthest distance, at 60 mph = (60×4) +100 =340 ft. On a curve, increase the distance so that the flares can be seen by vehicle entering the curve.
30 mph —– 30 ft —– 120 ft
40 mph —– 40 ft—– 160 ft
55 mph —– 55 ft —– 220 + 100 = 320 ft
65 mph —– 65 ft —– 260 + 100 = 360 ft
Always remember that flares can ignite leaking volatile liquid or gaseous fuel from vehicles, keep flares 100 ft away from leaking fuel sources.
Flare materials are toxic. Do not handle food after using flares without proper wash up.
I recommend that you buy the flares without the spikes. They come in 20 and 30-minute sizes. I recommend the 30-minute size for accidents
Alternate uses of road flares. They are a great fire starter in a real emergency. Even wet wood can be ignited by them. If you decide to place some in your pack, you can make them smaller by cutting them down to size. Be sure and save the end with the starter. Put them in plastic so that they do not contaminate other items in your pack.
They can also be used as a signal device, since they can be seen for a long distance. During Wildland fires, the fire departments often use them for starting backfires. This is the process of burning fuel between you and an approaching wild land fire. This should not be done other than by trained fire personnel.