How to Light a Road Flare: 10 Steps

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How to Light a Road Flare: 10 Steps
How to Light a Road Flare: 10 Steps

You have surely seen people using flares on the road. Flares are very effective in warning drivers that there is danger ahead on the road. Sure you have flares in the emergency kit in the trunk of your car, but have you ever lit one? It is not very difficult to do it but, just like to change a tire, it is better to practice and know what to do before being in need of lighting one.


Step 1. Before lighting the flare, see where you can place it

The best place is a flat, paved surface, where there are no plants or dry grass. If you are lighting a roadside flare, you will need to place several flares well behind the car so that oncoming drivers have enough time to dodge you. A good distance to place the first flare is one hundred steps back or forward of the vehicle. Make sure no nearby vehicles are leaking gas. DO NOT light the flare if gasoline is spilling.


Step 2. Place the flare cap on one end

Flares generally have a striking, rough surface on the end. If necessary, remove the lid to expose that surface.


Step 3. Look at the lid

In many cases, the caps are designed with drop down flaps or with a flat side to prevent the lit flare from rolling. Find that feature and prepare it before lighting the sparkler.


Step 4. Remove the cap and expose it

You should surely turn it gently. The end of the flare will have a power mark or "button" on it. You must turn on that brand or button.

Step 5. Hold the flare as far away from your body and face as possible

Stand with one of your shoulders against the wind. Point the end to light in the opposite direction you are and other people are. Remember to hold the sparkler in the middle, with your hand away from the end that you will light.


Step 6. Light the sparkler as if you were lighting a match

Rub the end of the sparkler against the rough part of the lid. It is not necessary to do it very firmly. Remember that the flare will come on suddenly and if you are dressed in good clothes, you could ruin it.

Step 7. Bring the flare pointing toward the ground and away from you so that no hot particles reach your hand

Keep the lit sparkler away from your hair and clothes.

Step 8. Place the cap on the end of the flare that is not lit


Step 9. Put the flare on the ground, away from other vehicles and flammable objects, and make sure it doesn't roll

Do not throw the flare because if you do, you will not know where it can fall and it may break. If you think you need to extend the time that a sparkler burns, you can rest the lit sparkler on an unlit one, resting the lit end on the lit end of the unlit one.

Step 10. Before leaving the venue, make sure the flare has gone out

If you want to put out a sparkler before it does it by itself, you can do it with water or hit the lit end against the ground so that the lit part breaks and separates from the rest. Extinguishing the flame will not be very effective.


  • Some states in the United States exchange old flares for new ones for free. If you live in the United States, check with the traffic police in your state.
  • Although most flares have the same design, it is recommended to read the instructions for the one you have and understand the specifications well.
  • The sparklers will burn for approximately 10-15 minutes.
  • Keep your flares up to date. If they are old, they may not work for you when you want to use them.
  • Keep the sparklers in a dry place.
  • If you prefer not to carry or use flammable flares, there are many alternatives such as LED lights or reflective hazard signs. If you choose another option, make sure it always has enough battery or batteries.
  • Be careful when disposing of old flares. Do not throw them in the common garbage. An option to get rid of road flares (no flares) is to light them in a safe place and wait for them to go out on their own. If not, contact the hazardous waste department in your area of residence. You can also contact your state fire department or traffic police and ask where you can dump them or if you can exchange them for a new one. Local agencies vary by location.


  • Make sure to place the sparkler away from flammable objects like grass or dry leaves and to support it so that it doesn't roll or blow away in the wind.
  • Be careful when disposing of used sparklers and burned debris.
  • Flares for road no They are suitable for use at sea and, in the same way, sea-type ones cannot be used on the road. Make sure you get the correct flares.
  • Never light a flare indoors or inside a vehicle.
  • Flares are pyrotechnics. Use them very carefully and don't play with them.
  • Some states in the United States have laws that regulate the number of flares that a particular vehicle can have at one time. If you live in the United States, check what the rules are like in your state.
  • Some states in the United States have laws that regulate whether or not you can carry flares in private vehicles. If you live in the United States, make sure you are not breaking any laws and, if in doubt, check with the police.
  • Some states in the United States require flares not to be lit. In these cases, you can use an alternative.

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