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Roadside Emergency! Are you ready?

Posted 10-13-2019 at 10:07 PM by GMFL
Updated 10-13-2019 at 10:11 PM by GMFL

Lets face it, for most of us RV travel involves covering vast amounts of road to get to our destination. Traveling the highways and byways of America has its up and downs. Proper RV maintenance, planning travel routes around major cities, and visiting busy locations during off peak times can all reduce stress and risk. However, despite all the planning and preparation you've done, some things just happen. A roadside emergency is one of those things that can happen to anyone, anywhere, and at any time. Whether it's a fender bender, flat tire, or busted radiator SAFETY is the name of the game. Are you prepared?

Most road travelers carry very little in way of self reliance during a roadside emergency. Their "kit" is filled with the thought of others in mind...like jumper cables. Jumper cables are great, but have you ever tried to jump yourself off without the assistance of another vehicle? A better choice for this would be a lithium jump box like the NOCO GB150. You can use this jump box to assist someone else or yourself. (I could write an entire article on just this Jump box, but that's for another time)

Today lets focus on the one item that ALL RV travelers should carry, road side emergency markers. Road triangles, flares (incendiary or LED), or chemical/glow stick type markers should be a staple item in your roadside emergency kit. The purpose of these devices is to help create a visual warning to other motorist that a potentially dangerous situation is ahead. By alerting other motorist in advance you are giving them more time to slow down, move over, and react to the upcoming situation. This can help greatly in your safety and preventing further accidents.

Lets look at four different types of road side markers in detail and determine which best fits your travel needs.

Road Side Triangles

Road Side triangles are often reffered to as DOT Safety triangles. These are those orange or sometimes red reflective triangles you see behind transfer trucks on the side of the interstate. They are durable and can be used multiple times, but in high winds they can be blown over and become essentially ineffective. They also do not have an internal light source, which means at night they require an external light source, such as a vehicle's head lights, to shine on them for the relective tape to be seen. Even though they do fold down they can be hard to store and assembly is required when needed. This can make an emergency situation even more difficult.


Great during the day
Fold up for storage
Produce no heat or fire


Not easy to store
Not great at night
No light source
Requires light to shine on them to be seen at night
Chemical Flare from Amazon
Chemical Glow Stick Flare

Chemical Glow Sticks

Chemical Glow sticks are another option for road side markers. These are just like the glow sticks your kids play with on Halloween only slightly larger. For all you nerds out there they work through a exothermic reaction that occurs when mixing Dyed Biphenyl Oxalate and Hydrogen Peroxide. They are easy to use, come in a variety of colors, and produce no heat or fire. Major draw backs to the chemical glow sticks is that their brightness is reduced by cold temperatures due to the chemical reaction being slowed. Also, they are not easily seen during the day


Easy to use
No fire
Different colors
Long run time
Light weight and easy to store


Plastic waste
Cold temperatures can affect brightness
One time use
Can accidentally get activated in the package
Not good for daytime use

Traditional Incendiary Flares

Traditional Incendiary Flares ,or Pyrotechnic Flares, date back to around the time gunpowder was invented. They are inexpensive. This type is very bright and can be used in rain, sleet, snow, ect. To safely use a traditional flare requires some training. Lighting these flares is its own skill set. Therefore I recommend that you "practice" with one in a non emergency situation. The use of Incendiary flares also carry a risk of FIRE. This type flare should never be used in dry conditions or when leaking automobile fluids are present.


They produce a bright light
Small and easy to store
Display well during daytime


Sometimes hard to light
Can cause other flammable items to ignite
Short burn time (average 15 minutes)
One time use
Once lit hard to put out
Risk of burn/injury when using

HoKENA LED Road Flares

LED puck style flares from Hokena Safety Flares have in the last few years really started to make their presence known in the market. Police Departments as well as other emergency services have started making these LED flares standard equipment in their vehicles due to there versatility. LED flares are easy and safe to use. They are bright and provide multiple lighting patterns such as rotate, strobe, or constant on. They have a built in hook and strong internal magnet that allow for different mounting/display options. These flares have a very long run time, as much as 5 days. They are battery powered so the batteries will need changing periodically.


Very bright
Multiple lighting modes
Built in hook and magnet
Easy to store
Long run time


Battery powered
Not the greatest choice during the daytime

Each of these options have their own set of pros and cons, but having a emergency roadside warning system is a must for all RV travelers. Having one of these systems is a great way to warn other drivers of your situation and allow them the time to move over and slow down. I use the Hokena 5 pack LED Safety system. I believe it clearly provides the best overall option. They are a great way to increase visibility and provide a buffer between you and moving traffic without the risk associated with Incendiary Flares. They are brighter and more visible than Chemical Glow Sticks. They also are easier to store and provide better nighttime visibility than Safety Triangles. LED road flares are a safe option that anyone can use.

As a side note if you must exit your vehicle you should wear a ANSI Class 2 compliant high visibility safety vests to help increase the visibility of your person.

Feel free to reach out if you have questions and donít forget to follow us @Airstream_Nuts_and_Bolts on Instagram for our most current travel and project information
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Total Comments 2


  1. Old Comment
    Definitely didn't think about roadside triangles.... added to the list! Thanks!
    Posted 01-02-2020 at 04:35 PM by Dasponto Dasponto is offline
  2. Old Comment
    GMFL's Avatar
    No problem
    Posted 01-04-2020 at 10:30 PM by GMFL GMFL is offline

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