Thursday February 28 2013

Safety tips: Must-have tools in your car for emergencies

By Paul Kaganzi

There are times when we encounter an emergency such as a tyre puncture. This and more abrupt issues can derail our otherwise good journeys and as such, there are some tools that we must have to deal with such challenging situations. Today, we shall look at the reflective triangle and its uses.

When do you use a reflective triangle?

Reflective triangles are car emergency accessories that are meant to be set up at the road-side to warn oncoming traffic when you have made an unexpected stop on the side of the road. This may be due to a health emergency, tyre puncture or car breakdown. When you switch on your car hazzard (double indicators) and use your reflector triangles you may prevent a simple car breakdown from becoming a tragic accident if a driver of an oncoming vehicle fails to see your parked car.

Reflective triangles are sometimes supplied on some car models as standard equipment. However, in most cases, one has to buy these accessories. They are usually stowed in the trunk area where you keep your wheel changing tools.

How to use it

Park at the safest point on the road, a reasonable distance from a roundabout or a sharp bend if your emergency allows you. Switch on your double indicator lights and open your trunk lid. Find and open a plastic case where the reflective triangle is kept and remove it. The triangle consists of three pieces that are folded together into a single bundle for easy storage. Unfold and assemble the three pieces in the shape of a triangle. Attach the two free ends by snapping them together. Extend the stabilising stands that allow the triangle to be positioned upright on the road surface.

Facing the road in the direction from which traffic is coming, position the triangle in the breakdown lane so that its reflective side is facing oncoming traffic. Don’t put the triangle in the opposite traffic lane. Set a triangle at least 50 metres behind your car, so that motorists will have time to see it and slow down. For additional safety, you can put another reflective triangle on the road between the first one.