How to Place Emergency Triangles on the Road

Emergency Triangles on the Road

A disabled truck—either due to mechanical problems or as a result of an accident—can create a very dangerous situation. After all, stopping on the side of the highway, especially in poorly lit areas or in poor visibility due to weather or on a winding road, creates a very high-risk situation both for you as a truck driver and for other vehicles on the roadways. Thankfully, emergency triangles and their proper placement can make a risky situation safer. Prompt and proper emergency triangle placement can save your life or the life of someone else on the road.

Understanding Emergency Triangles: How to Place Emergency Triangles

FMCSA guidelines require all commercial motor vehicle drivers stopped on the shoulder of a highway to place warning devices in the form of emergency triangles on the roadway within 10 minutes of them pulling over or as quickly as possible. Consequently, all commercial truck drivers are required to carry three emergency triangles to place when they are stopped.

The proper placement of these devices is just as important as placing them in the first place as their proper spacing will ensure a truck is seen quickly and the driver and emergency personnel are visible while waiting for a tow or other form of help. Barr-Nunn proudly supports and promotes all federal and state regulations when it comes to making highway and roadway travel safer with proper safety device placement. The following is a helpful breakdown of the proper placement:

Two Lane Roads

  • Place one triangle 10 ft in front of the vehicle on the side of the oncoming traffic.
  • Place one triangle 10 ft behind the vehicle on the side of oncoming traffic.
  • Place one triangle 100 ft behind the vehicle in the center of the lane in which the vehicle occupies.

Divided Highways and One-Way Roads

  • Place one triangle 10 ft. behind the vehicle on the same side as the oncoming traffic.
  • Place one triangle 100 ft behind a vehicle in the center lane the vehicle occupies.
  • Place one triangle 200 ft behind the vehicle in the center of the lane being occupied.

Obstructed Vehicle, Poor Visibility

  • Place one triangle 100 ft ahead of the vehicle.
  • Place one triangle 10 ft behind the vehicle on the side of oncoming traffic.
  • Place one triangle between 100 ft and 500 ft down the road to provide increased warning for vehicles coming up on your truck.

When to Use Emergency Triangles

You should never stop on the side of the road unless it is necessary due to mechanical issues or other problems. Switching drivers, taking rest breaks, and adjusting navigation is not an adequate reason to pull off the roadway and should instead be completed in a legal parking location. The following are the most common applicable reasons you might need to place emergency triangles:

  • Breakdowns and mechanical failures
  • Accidents and collisions
  • Roadside emergencies

Ensuring Personal Safety

You as a driver want to make your truck as visible as possible when it is stalled or broken down on the shoulder of a roadway. Therefore, keep the following in mind to ensure your safely going about this process:

  1. Begin the process by turning on your four-way flashers, making yourself more visible while you place the emergency triangles.
  2. Wear reflective clothing when putting up the emergency triangles or other gear or collecting them. This increases your visibility, thus making you safer.
  3. Make sure the triangles are set up with reflective side facing oncoming traffic so that the design works to promote visibility.
  4. Contact help and other drivers. Let other drivers in the area know what is going on, so they can be sure to slow down and maintain a safe distance. You should also call for help to get your truck up and moving as soon as possible, reducing the time you are on the side of the roadway.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

While the regulations are pretty straightforward, even simple and seemingly minute mistakes can relegate emergency triangles nearly useless. Therefore, it’s important to avoid common mistakes that can reduce their benefits and purpose.

  • Incorrect Placement: The placement that is outlined by safety standards, as well as changing them based on situations and types of roads, ensures that the triangles do the most good. Therefore, placing them improperly can mean you aren’t getting the most benefit from their presence.
  • Insufficient Distance: As you know, as a truck driver, you need time to get over in another lane, it can’t happen instantaneously. Unfortunately, a common mistake that is seen with emergency triangles is insufficient distance, meaning the triangles are placed too close to the truck itself, not giving other motorists adequate time to move over.
  • Neglecting to Activate Hazard Lights: While the emergency triangles are important to be sure, you should also activate your hazard lights when placing them to further promote visibility.

Barr Nunn’s Commitment to Safety Through Proper Emergency Triangle Placement

The information above outlines exactly how to place emergency triangles if you find yourself stranded on the side of the road. It’s important that you practice the placement and know all the proper procedures for each situation before you find yourself facing them in a real-life scenario. Thankfully, at Barr-Nunn Transportation we are committing to continued training on everything related to driver safety including proper emergency triangle placement and procedures.

To learn more about Truck Driving options with a Certified Top-Pay Carrier, contact us at Barr-Nunn Transportation.

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