Breakdown Warning Devices

When I am not responding to column suggestions I take my inspiration from watching what is going on around me when I drive. The other day I almost turned around to warn a mother and child sitting on the concrete barrier in front of a broken down van towing a tent trailer. Even if the trailer was not stopped partly into the traveled lane I know from investigating collisions that they were at greater risk than they realized.
A kit consisting of at least two reflective orange triangles could have improved these people's safety considerably. Placed at least 4 seconds travel time to the rear, at the rear and halfway in between, three triangles would have given approaching traffic a clue that something hazardous was ahead, especially at night. It's a small investment that could even save a life.
Motorhomes and commercial vehicles that carry more than 10 passengers or are over 2.3 meters in width registered in British Columbia are required to carry approved warning devices. These must consist of devices meant for use during darkness and two red flags of at least 30 by 30 centimeters in size or two warning devices meant for daytime use. Proper warning triangles meet both requirements.
If you break down and put out your warnings, staying in the vehicle or sitting nearby like these people did may not be a good idea. In this case waiting on the other side of the barrier from the traffic would have been better, and well off the roadway would have been best. Of course, sometimes weather or other conditions may not permit this, but think twice about remaining closer to traffic than you really need to.
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