Optimum features for a car breakdown emergency light?

lumen aeternum

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1) CR123 batteries for long shelf life & cold weather function.
1a) Maybe also optionally rechargeable since USB converters are so common nowadays.
2) Flood with about xxx Lumens for looking under the hood or changing a tire. ~200 Lumens?
3) Spot with huge lumens & long throw for seeing what the F*** is ahead, down that long dark roadway before you start walking.
4) map reading mode for reading the instructions on how to use that jack you never pulled out before :)
5) strobe for getting the attention of that oncoming vehicle.
6) Runtime on ~200 tire changing or walking mode.
7) simple controls so the wife can do it -- she won't be memorizing 3 switches or patterns of pushing.
 

Dave D

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Nitecore MT2A fitted with 2 x AA Lithium primaries or 2 x XXX Eneloops, then stick it in the glove box and forget about it until you need it.
 

reppans

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1) CR123 batteries for long shelf life & cold weather function.
1a) Maybe also optionally rechargeable since USB converters are so common nowadays.
2) Flood with about xxx Lumens for looking under the hood or changing a tire. ~200 Lumens?
3) Spot with huge lumens & long throw for seeing what the F*** is ahead, down that long dark roadway before you start walking.
4) map reading mode for reading the instructions on how to use that jack you never pulled out before :)
5) strobe for getting the attention of that oncoming vehicle.
6) Runtime on ~200 tire changing or walking mode.
7) simple controls so the wife can do it -- she won't be memorizing 3 switches or patterns of pushing.

I like your list :), but for me, a car light will be used 99% of the time for practical purposes.

1) wide voltage 0.9-4.2v light with a 1xAA tube that uses Lithium L91s or 3v CRAAs from temp extremes/LT storage, 14500s (or spare 2xAA tube) for power, and can easily find cells in any gas station. (In a real pinch, with a piece of MacGyver tinfoil, will also run 9Vs, AAAs and anything sized between a CR123 and 18650.)
3) not many good variable focus lights, so I lean toward a floody XML-in-a-small-head type of light.
4) a "bright" sub-lumen mode in the 0.3-0.5 lumen range (not ZL's "0.3" though ;)) - enough for passengers to comfortable read by without disturbing a driver, not to mention having insane runtimes.
5) agree quick access strobe is a must for roadside emergencies, but my favorite UI "feature" as a roadside dog walker is having a momentary max from ON (ie, any lower mode in use) - works just like car high beam flashers
8) Aftermarket/DIY headband and lantern diffuser
 

tubed

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May 3, 2012
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all good qualities mentioned but as reppans points out in his last point - and many others have in threads about this - headlamps are often the best car light as there is a huge chance you will using your hands

I would just throw out that for ~$20 you can get a Smittybilt UFO - which is cR123 powered blinking, magnetic emergency light to augment your other light.
if you don't get a head lamp - rec a light like the Quark 123 or new Skillhunt single 123 or the Olight S- whatever --- as all have backwards facing clips that enable hat use, have blink modes, take cr123 and are small enough to fit in glovebox.
 
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dss_777

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Oct 31, 2004
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Yeah, headlamp. I'd seriously consider a Petzl Pixa Pro 3 or a Tactikka variant, using lithium AAA primaries.

The problem with the whiz-bank high-output lights like the Zebralight is they get hot with long runs- and the last thing you want to deal with is a wife that's uncomfortable because you got her a flashlight she has to "deal with".



"I don't care that it can do somersaults and file our taxes, I just want it to work!"

Some variation on that theme is a common beginning salvo in my house.
 

Poppy

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All good points already made.

tubed's suggestion of the smitty built road hazard light should not go unnoticed.
Personally I believe that THE MOST IMPORTANT light is the one that you use to warn oncoming traffic that you are in their way!

Reflector triangles are also great tools and should be in the trunk of every vehicle.

Lithium primaries, and spares. It doesn't matter if they are CR123s, AA's or AAA's as long as you have enough. Of the three I would prefer AA's.

The most important light IMO is a 22 inch 2D or 2C LED traffic baton, with AA to C or AA to D adapters. I prefer the D size. That will give you about 14 inches of RED 1 1/2 inch diameter flagging wand to move traffic out of your lane. It's highly visible even in the daylight and without being lit.

Before I was too young to drive, I learned how important it is to have a set of road flares in the car. I probably have about ten in the trunk. I also have a pair of reflective vests, and flashlights. I also carry 2-3 reflective safety cones. OK... that's a little overboard, but being able to set up the scene with warning devices can't be overstated. You don't want to get struck (because you broke down around a blind curve) and you don't want others getting hurt trying to avoid your disabled vehicle (at 65 MPH) because there wasn't sufficient warning that you are blocking their lane of travel.

I also carry at least one 22 inch LED traffic safety wand, (search ebay for "traffic baton") and a 2D Cell flashlight with a maglight style traffic diffuser.

I made a holder for the wands out of PCV pipe so that they can be placed atop the traffic cones. OR they can be held vertically with a bent coat hanger taped to it, making legs, (like the chemical road flares are).

According to this US Federal study, lights that are raised above the ground are significantly better than those that are at ground level.
https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/224277.pdf

They compared a number of LED safety lights to each other and to chemical road flares.
 

Poppy

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With today's vehicles there are few roadside repairs that can be made, so for the most part, you'll be waiting for a tow.
If you can't safely change a tire without possibly getting struck, then again... wait for a tow. In the meantime, try to make the scene safe, as mentioned above.

Again... as already mentioned a head lamp is the most useful light/tool for changing tires.
 
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