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Highway Safety Tips and Instructions

What to do in a driving emergency.

  • Pull your vehicle off the main highway as far as possible. If there is a shoulder, use it.
  • Turn on your vehicle’s emergency flashers if you have them. If not, leave your headlights on low beam and turn on your right turn signal. Put up the hood of the car. Place Orion flares or reflectors at 10 feet … and at least 300 feet behind your vehicle on the right edge of the main roadway. This will warn oncoming traffic where your vehicle is parked.
  • If possible, stay with your vehicle until help comes, especially if you are on an interstate highway. The state patrol monitors major highways with more frequency and a patrol car will be along at regular intervals.
  • If you must leave your vehicle, carry a flashlight or Orion® lightstick. Walk on the left-hand side of the road or left shoulder, facing traffic. Never leave your vehicle and walk on the traveled portion of the highway. Not only is this very dangerous, it's illegal!
  • Tie a white cloth to the radio antenna or a door handle. Make sure it is clearly visible. Use Orion® emergency flares if you have them.
  • The highway flares, white cloth and flashers are all distress signals that will let law enforcement officers know that you need help. Seeing a car parked on the freeway, officers may ticket the vehicle if it is stopped for any reason other than an emergency.

Tips on safe and effective flare use.

  • Never light flares in the presence of spilled flammables or where there are fumes emitting from the vehicle.
  • Light the first flare, placing it at least 15 feet behind the vehicle. Normal rain and wind will not affect the flare’s performance, but be sure not to immerse the flame in a puddle of water.
  • Light the second flare. Then walk with it, holding the flare away from your body, with burning end down (avoid drips of molten residue) approximately 10 paces (30 feet) behind the first lighted flare. Place the flare on the ground. (Carrying the lit flare will help protect you from oncoming traffic so you are never invisible on the roadside.)
  • If you are on a two-lane road, place an additional flare at least 15 feet in front of the vehicle, to warn traffic passing in the opposite direction.
  • Use additional flares behind or in front of your vehicle for visibility as conditions warrant.For longer emergencies, flares may be stacked to provide additional warning time. Place a lighted flare on the ground, then uncap the second flare and place it on the non-burning end of the first flare to form an "L". The second flare will light automatically as the first flare burns down to double the duration of protection. Additional flares should be carried to provide for long term emergencies.
  • Before leaving the scene, make sure that lit flares have burned completely. Never extinguish by stepping on the flare.