If your car breaks down in the middle of the day, all you have to do is get it off the road and to the breakdown lane. If your breakdown happens at night, however, there’s a whole new set of dangers. In order to make sure that other drivers can see you, it’s a good idea to make sure you set out emergency road reflectors.
Emergency road reflectors are triangular reflectors, usually colored orange to let other drivers know that there’s a hazard ahead. Popular models come in a single snap-out pyramid or as a flat triangle that sits on a pole attached to a base. Regardless of which type of reflector you have in your emergency preparedness kit, it’s a good idea to assemble all of them before you leave your vehicle. This will cut down on the amount of risk you experience, and you should be aiming to spend as little time as possible in the actual roadway.
You want to place your reflectors behind your vehicle and facing the oncoming traffic. The first reflector should be placed far back, between 50 and 100 feet depending on the speed limit of the road and the weather conditions. It should also be placed on or near the white line of the shoulder. As you come back towards your vehicle place more reflectors at regular intervals. The line should move out into the lane of traffic closest to your vehicle, and the reflectors should act as a guide to send other drivers around where your vehicle is parked and/or broken down.
The use of road reflectors can be enhanced by other emergency equipment. If you have road flares, for instance (which will function even in the rain), you should place them near the reflectors in order to draw more attention to them. In addition, road flares will be easier to see in the dark, giving drivers more of a chance to follow the reflectors’ pattern. In addition, you should leave your vehicle’s hazard lights flashing if possible. The more light you can create, the more your reflectors will be seen and the better your chance of other drivers following the pattern you’ve laid out.