Safety Advisor: Proper Usage of Warning Devices

Failing to place, or improperly placing, warning devices at the scene of an accident or breakdown could result in serious collisions and injuries.

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations Part 392.22, whenever a commercial motor vehicle is stopped on a highway or the shoulder of a highway for any cause other than the necessary traffic stops, the driver of the stopped commercial motor vehicle should immediately activate their vehicular hazard warning signal flashers and continue the flashing until the driver places their vehicle warning devices.

Acceptable Warning Devices

Your commercial motor vehicles should be equipped with at least one of the following warning devices:

  • Three bidirectional emergency reflective triangles that meet the specifications of vehicle standard 571.125;
  • Six fusees that meet UL standards;
  • Three liquid-burning flares that meet UL standards.

It is important to note that flame-producing devices are prohibited on vehicles carrying explosives, flammable gas, flammable liquid or a motor vehicle using compressed gas as motor fuel.

Placement of Warning Devices

It is required that warning devices be positioned as soon as possible and in any event no later than 10 minutes after stopping or being disabled.

For proper positioning, place:

  • One approximately 10 feet from the vehicle in the direction of approaching traffic;
  • One approximately 100 feet from the vehicle in the center of the traffic lane or shoulder occupied by your vehicle in the direction of approaching traffic;
  • One approximately 100 feet from the vehicle in the center of the traffic lane or shoulder occupied by your vehicle in the direction away from approaching traffic.

If your vehicle is equipped with fusees or liquid-burning flares, extinguish and remove before moving the vehicle.

Along Business or Residential Streets

It is not required to place warning devices within business or residential districts during daylight hours, provided the lighting is sufficient. It is required to put out warning devices when it is dark or when visibility is poor.

Hills, Curves and Obstructions

If you are stopped within 500 feet of a curve, crest of a hill or other obstruction, you must place warning signals so that they can be viewed from a distance of 100 to 500 feet. This allows other drivers time to slow down and safely navigate around your vehicle.

Divided or One-Way Roads

If you are stopped on a highway, you must place warning devices in the center of the lane or shoulder occupied by your vehicle, 200 feet and 100 feet in the direction of approaching traffic. Place a third warning device on the traffic side within 10 feet of the rear of the vehicle.

Protect your business and eliminate loss-producing situations by equipping your vehicles with the appropriate warning devices and training your drivers on the proper usage of warning signals.

Note:  Be careful of approaching traffic at the scene. You are particularly vulnerable when placing or retrieving warning devices.

Sentry Insurance is committed to helping you protect your business by providing resources to manage loss-producing situations and prevent accidents. For additional information visit ForTruckersOnly.com, or call 1-877-832-1835.


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