Best Road Flares

Updated December 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

27 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
232 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best road flares

Last Updated December 2019

Road flares are a product about which most people rarely think. However, they are one of the most important safety items to keep in your vehicle at any time. When you break down on the side of the road, flares keep other cars out of your path and let your fellow drivers know that you are in distress. It’s important to always have road flares in your vehicle in the event of any type of emergency.

In the past, road flares were almost all the same design. They consisted of a long stick that would rest on the road to notify other drivers of your situation. Although those basic flares still exist, there are many more options available to drivers now and some sets include handy extras like safety vests and seatbelt cutters.

Read the following buying guide for best road flares, and you’ll get some insight into how to choose the right type for your needs. If you’re ready to buy, check out our top picks.

Even if your vehicle is on the shoulder, it’s advisable that you still use road flares to keep oncoming traffic at a safe distance.

Key considerations

Any time you are choosing to purchase any type of safety equipment, it’s important to think about how it will be used in an emergency. Road flares are something that only get removed from their packaging when something has gone wrong. That means they need to be easy to use and practical. They also need to be highly visible. If you use these principles as your guiding light when shopping for road flares, you can’t go wrong.

Durability is also very important when it comes to emergency road flares. If they are not working at the moment when you need them most, then your flares are essentially worthless. Finally, take the following factors into consideration as well when researching which road flares to purchase.

Flame vs. lights

Traditionally, road flares were flammable sticks that burned a bright pink or red color to warn oncoming traffic of a stalled vehicle. Although these flares are still available, battery-powered beacons are becoming more common. These beacons flash a bright light and offer the same warning to other drivers as the traditional flammable version. Which one you prefer depends on the type of signal you want to offer your fellow motorists.

Visible distance

Think about the warning distance that you hope to achieve with your road flares. If you think you’ll only need to give drivers a short warning distance, then you can go with a smaller or less bright road flare. Otherwise, you’ll want to get the brightest one you can find. Flammable flares can be seen from a distance of up to 25 yards from a moving vehicle.

Length of use

If you only plan to use a road flare for no more than 20 minutes at a time, then a standard flammable flare will do. However, it’s hard to plan for an emergency. So if you think you might need the flares for long periods at a time, then a battery-powered option is your best bet.

Weather concerns

If you live (and drive) in an area with inclement weather, take that into consideration when choosing a set of road flares. High winds and heavy rain might make flammable flares more difficult to see than battery-powered beacon-style flares. That’s not to say that you should not use flammable flares, but keep their limitations in mind when deciding what to buy.

FOR YOUR SAFETY

Do not place flares or beacons in a fast-moving lane where other vehicles might run over them.

Features

The features available on road flares today are a far cry from the basic “fire sticks” of the past. You can now choose from any number of features for your road flares to make sure they do the best job possible and keep you safe from harm.

Magnetic mounts

One of the most convenient features now found on many beacon-style flares are magnetic mounts. These allow you to attach the beacons to the back of the vehicle so that they are more visible than ones that are simply laying on the ground. Magnetic mounts make using flares even safer than before.

Safety vest

Some road flare sets now come with a dayglow safety vest. This vest is helpful in making sure you are seen by other motorists when you are either repairing your vehicle or waiting for help to arrive. If you think you will be walking around your vehicle near traffic during a stall, invest in a set of road flares that includes a safety vest.

Storage bag

Keeping your road flares organized and stored in a safe place is essential to your safety as a driver. When the time comes, it’s nice to know that you have them in a specially designed bag that comes complimentary with your flares.

Seatbelt cutter

Some sets of road flares now come with a seatbelt cutter in case of emergency. These seatbelt cutters are useful in case of an accident where you need to get out of the car in a hurry.

Road flare prices

Inexpensive: Between $10 and $25 you can find the most basic road flares. These will more often than not be the type that are flame-based.

Mid-range: If you spend in the range of $25 to $35, you can choose from a number of battery-powered road flare options.

Expensive: In the range of $35 to $50, road flare sets will generally include additional accessories, such as gloves and seatbelt cutters.

EXPERT TIP

Keep an eye on your road flares or beacons if you are stalled for a long time. Flame-based flares can burn out, and battery-powered beacons can run out of power.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Always keep your road flares or beacons in an area of your trunk or vehicle cabin where you can access them easily during an emergency.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

  • Make sure nothing is blocking your road flare from view. Flares need to be as visible as possible for other drivers.

  • If you have rechargeable or other battery-powered road flares, make sure you either recharge them or change their batteries regularly to avoid the problem of dead flares during an emergency.

  • Choose where to place your road flares before walking around the vehicle to place them.

  • Many local Coast Guard stations have flare-disposal programs to get rid of flares safely.

  • Always stay off of the road when your car has broken down. Keep at least five to 10 feet from the edge of any roadway.

  • Flammable flares are designed to be used from two to four years. Change them out beyond that point.

  • When possible, guide or push your vehicle to the shoulder of the road rather than allowing it to stay in a busy thoroughfare.

  • Do not attempt to do any work on your vehicle if you don’t have experience with mechanics. You may either damage your vehicle, injure yourself, or both.

  • Place flares far away from the vehicle so that approaching traffic will have enough time to move out of the way of your car.

  • Never light a road flare near highly flammable materials or chemicals.

Other products we considered

There are so many options when it comes to road flares, so we’re including a few more that we think you might like. An inexpensive option that might be worth your while is the Securityman LED Road Flares With Safety Vest. The added security of a fluorescent safety vest makes this flare set well worth the reasonable price. In the mid-range category, we liked the Yandu LED Road Flares Kit. The magnetic base makes these flares one of the most practical and secure available. If you’re willing to spend even more, you should look into the Marcala LED Road Flares Six-Pack. This is more of a safety kit than simple road flares. It comes with a seatbelt cutter and a convenient carrying case as well.

Be sure to recover your road flares or beacons before leaving the scene. You wouldn’t want to leave them behind.

FAQ

Q. Doesn’t my car already come with safety flares?

A. That depends on your vehicle. Some newer cars come equipped with safety flares or beacons, but most do not. Check your vehicle to find out what safety equipment it has.

Q. Do I need to use flares if the sun hasn’t set yet?

A. Absolutely. Dusk can be the most difficult time of the day for drivers to see, so even if the sun is still relatively high, you may still need to use your road flares.

Q. Isn’t a single flare enough to warn oncoming traffic that I’ve stalled?

A. If you only have one flare or beacon available, by all means use it. However, you should always have at least three flares or beacons available for use to make sure you are giving oncoming traffic the most warning you can possibly offer.

Q. Are flame-based flares a fire hazard if used near dry grass?

A. No. Generally, flame-based flares are designed to only burn their own fuel but not catch fire on any surrounding objects.

The team that worked on this review
  • Adam
    Adam
    Writer
  • Angela
    Angela
    Editor
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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