Best Road Flares: Our Top Picks to Keep Your Car Safe
Be safe during roadside emergencies with these top road safety flares.
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BY Noelle Talmon / LAST UPDATED ON March 21, 2019
When your car breaks down on the side of the road, it's important to be visible to passing motorists. A critical item for your emergency roadside kit is road flares. Traditional flares are pyrotechnic devices that burn brightly. Today, most people use battery-operated flares instead. Whatever your preference, check out our reviews and recommendations for the best road flares.
These LED road flares maximize visibility with four vertical flares. They have three flash modes: strobe, flashlight, and solid. You’ll also get two cases for carrying them.
- Height of these flares makes them visible from further away, which increases safety
- Getting four means you’ll be able to adequately surround your vehicle
- Flares require 12 AAA batteries
- Can get expensive to maintain them
- If you forget to change the batteries, your flares could be dead when you need them most
This affordable safety kit comes with three puck-style road flares, batteries, a screwdriver, gloves, and a storage bag. The flares have magnets and hooks for use versatility.
- Rated IP67
- Shatter and crushproof
- Emits a brilliant red light that’s visible for up to a mile away
- Can be used in harsh weather conditions
- Low number of road flares
- Batteries aren’t good quality
Stay safe with this six-pack of LED safety disks. Each flare has a magnetic base and a folding hook. The sides have shock-absorbing rubber. There are 12 LEDs around the perimeter of each unit.
- Nine flashing modes including SOS mode
- High-intensity amber LEDs
- Emits a bright light that’s visible up to a mile away and 360 degree outwards
- Waterproof and crushproof construction
- Batteries not included
- Need a screwdriver to replace the batteries
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Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Why Buy Road Flares?
- Caution others. If your vehicle is disabled, a roadside flare kit will alert other drivers and passersby about the situation. Road flares will give you more space to address whatever problem is plaguing your vehicle.
- Create a safety zone. Safety flares for cars can slow traffic and keep it from encroaching on an emergency area. Passing drivers will recognize the significance of the flares and avoid getting close to the scene.
- Protect your family and property. Safety is extremely important when you're broken down on the side of the road. If you want to ensure that your loved ones and vehicle are safe, the use of emergency roadside flares will help.
- Be visible. This is particularly important in severe weather conditions. If you're changing a flat tire, coping with windshield wiper issues, etc., make sure to set up highway flares so other drivers can see you.
- Illuminate an area. If you are stuck on the side of the road with very little light, road safety flares can help. They can provide a light source if you do not have access to a flashlight.
- Create a warning signal. If you come across a road hazard, such as a deer carcass or tree branch, highway safety flares will warn other drivers about the hazard.
Modern technology has led to the proliferation of battery-operated flares. They are much safer for drivers to use and store than their traditional counterpart pyrotechnic flares. Today’s flares typically require the installation of three AAA batteries. They are very convenient to use as long as the batteries are in working order.
An old-fashioned flare, also known as a fusee, will typically burn for 10 to 60 minutes with a bright red light. They are pyrotechnic devices and are also called highway flares, road flares, or ground flares. Modern technology has largely eliminated the need for this type of flare, which can cause injury if improperly handled.
The Tobfit company sells various products. As stated on its website, “(they are) Constantly changing to meet the challenges of the market, tirelessly pursuing new technologies and services.” Tobfit’s top priorities are innovation and customer satisfaction. Consider the Tobfit LED Road Flares Emergency Lights Roadside Safety Kit.
SlimK specializes in the development and production of many outdoor LED lights. The products include LED lanterns and car emergency roadside flares, which are exported to over 50 countries and regions. Places like America, Europe, and Southeast Asia. SlimK is ISO quality certified to meet the international standards. The focus is on delivering top quality products, the best customer service, and a 30-day money-back guarantee. One top product is the SlimK LED Road Flares Safety Kit.
The Hokena name was inspired by the founders' favorite Hawaiian beach, Ho‘okena. The company is solely committed to producing LED Flares for car owners, boat owners, and others who may require them during an emergency. Its top product is the Hokena LED Road Flares Emergency Lights.
- Under $20: You can purchase a decent box of road flares for under $20, particularly if you look for a deal.
- $20-$30: Most good-quality road flares fall into this price range. Typically, they include a storage bag, but they don't always come with batteries.
Battery Installation and Life
It's important to know what kind of batteries the flares require so you have spares for backup. Also, are the batteries easy to replace or do the flares require special tools? Battery life is also a key factor. It's frustrating to have to continually change the batteries, particularly if you forget to do so and get stuck in an emergency.
- Number of flares in the Kit. Most roadside flare kits include three beacons, but there are some that have as many as four or six. Three are adequate for an emergency roadside kit, but the more you have at your disposal, the more protection you can put around your vehicle.
- Storage Bag. Some companies include storage bags with their roadside flares. This keeps the flares safely secured in the trunk or another part of your vehicle. If you purchase a set of flares without a storage bag, then you have to find something else to keep them in, and it may not protect them as well.
- Light Patterns. While steady lights may get a person's attention, a strobe pattern may be even more effective. Many road flares have a variety of modes and light patterns that are hard to ignore. It can be particularly useful in bad weather to have a product that features a variety of lighting patterns.
- Waterproofing. It's not unlikely that you will get stuck on the side of the road in bad weather. Flares with good waterproofing will serve you better when they are placed outside, particularly in the freezing cold or pouring rain. It's critical that the flares can protect the batteries inside to ensure they function properly.
- Build and Design. Flares that are cheaply made are less likely to last very long. If they are too flimsy, they may not hold to the road very well or maintain a charge. Look for road flares that have solid construction so they can withstand bad weather and still function if they are run over by a vehicle.
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Tips for Road Flares
- Set the flares up at a reasonable distance from your vehicle. This gives motorists a chance to react to them. If they're too close to your car, they won't work as effectively.
- Be aware of your surroundings when you set up a road flare. Ensure that you are safely away from passing vehicles. Drivers may not see you when you get out of your car.
- Most flares require three AAA batteries, and you should check them and replace them every few years even if you don't use the flares. Store the batteries separately from the flares to reduce corrosion and protect the flares.
- Brighter LED flares will go through batteries more quickly. Take that into consideration when choosing which type of road flare you want to include in your emergency roadside kit.
- Pyrotechnic road flares can be dangerous if you don't know how to properly store or use them. LEDs are a safer alternative and easier to set up.
- Sometimes the striker fails to start the fuse on a traditional road flare. You can solve this problem by using a lighter, so make sure you have one with your emergency roadside kit.
- Keep the flares in a dry storage space, such as a plastic tote. Traditional fusee flares may break down if they get wet or damp, which can be messy, and prevent them from working.
Q: How many road flares are necessary, and where should they be placed?
Three flares should suffice. To warn traffic that your vehicle is parked on the side of an interstate highway, place them at 10 feet, 100 feet, and 200 feet from your car. If you're on a two-lane, undivided road, put one 100 feet in front of your vehicle and two 10 feet and 100 feet behind it.
Q: Do flares make an orange flash?
It depends on the product. Many LEDs are orange or amber. A few feature several different lighting modes, some of which may also include a white LED flashlight.
Q: Can you mount the flares on top of a car?
Some products include magnets on the bottom of the flares so they can be affixed to a vehicle's steel bumper or roof. They can also be attached to a guardrail.
Q: Do pyrotechnic road flares expire?
Pyrotechnic road flares will eventually expire. Many have a shelf life of fewer than four years. They may work after the expiration date but could misfire.
Our top pick for the best road flare is the Twinkle Star Emergency Roadside Flares Kit. They are very bright and durable.
An affordable alternative is the Gear Gurus LED Road Flares Kit. It comes with everything you need and is packed into a convenient carrying bag.