Road Flare alternatives?

alpg88

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3,840
yellow\white strobes are ok, but red, blue and any combo with these 2 colors can get you in troubles, unless you are a cop, fireman, emt. those 2 colors are reserved for first responders.

i build a light for BLF scratch build contest, it has a white yellow alternate strobe, i made it just for that purpose, road emergency.
 

Dave_H

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Ottawa Ont. Canada
I believe that red, blue or combination can be problematic for vehicle non-attached warning lights.
Blue appears to be dominant (only?) colour for police in UK, Europe, Australia and no doubt elsewhere.

Police at all levels in my part of Canada use red/blue combo, and some EMS also. Oddly, blue alone
has been used for a long time here by snow removal vehicles. In Ontario, volunteer firefighters are
permitted green flashing lights when responding; so green despite its visibility is out, and it also
might be confusing as earlier noted.

That said, I believe red flashing light on a non-emergency vehicle in Ontario may be permitted in some
conditions but only in certain direction (back facing, but not forward), would have to verify.

That would seem to leave yellow/amber/orange and white, though other jurisdictions may have their
own specific restrictions. Makes sense, amber etc. is a "cautionary" colour, green is a "all OK go
ahead" colour, and red is more an "emergency" colour.

Dave
 

Dave_H

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Location
Ottawa Ont. Canada
This may be a bit off the original topic, but relevant I think to electronic road flares.

A friend I worked with, also into electronics, is a runner, sometimes doing so in low light conditions.
For visibility he created a strip LED arrangement attached to his vest, powered by a Li-ion battery.
The controller flashes LEDs in a pattern of three short flashes with gap between. He believes this
is optimal for getting attention, compared to regular on/off flash, or other patterns.

( I guess such users could be considered "slow-moving vehicles".)

As a small project I designed my own simple controller using a common/cheap IC (CD4060) plus
some resistors, capacitors, diodes and transistor. By changing connections I can get different
patterns including 50% on/off, or 2,4,8 flashes per group with gap between, at various speeds.
A microcontroller such as PIC could give huge number of possible patterns (**), I'm sure it's been
done, but I kept this one simple, such that just about anyone could build it.

The question is, which type of flash sequences would be best for getting attention, but not
too distracting? I know police light bars use a few rapid flashes, alternating between groups.
Assume in this case a single LED, or an array all driven together. A very rapid strobing strikes
me as too distracting, and though I've not heard of specific incidents, might trigger epileptic
seizure in some people.

What are some of these road flare products doing?

Dave

** An aside, one cheap bike rear light from dollar store provides 6-7 different patterns which I find
annoying. You may need to cycle through several to get the one you want, and turn it off. I also
question the safety/legality of a directional pattern which seems to be indicating a turn, other
than intended, even on a bicycle. Simple high/low/flash would have been fine.
 
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Alaric Darconville

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For a road flare, the steadier the better; flashes could make locating them on the road more difficult, especially with a very short flash. Remember, most of the cars will be going at least 88fps on their approach, and road flares are very low to the road on an otherwise dark surface; they can 'move' if the flash is so short that the eye can't track it.

Some of these electronic flares do a rotating pattern rather than just strobing or flashing. Leave the flashing to the vehicle's hazard lamps.
 

PartyPete

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Aug 14, 2015
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It's been discontinued for some time now but I used a Fenix CL05 for this purpose one night when I had to change a tire on a road with a narrow shoulder.

3 blinking modes, 2 of which are colored.

I think Fenix still makes something similar as well as Nitecore.
 

Dave_H

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Messages
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Location
Ottawa Ont. Canada
On thinking about red, there must be a lot of red flashers out there. As long as there is no appearance of trying to mimic emergency vehicles (such as in motion) or combining with blue (in N.A at least); so unless specifically prohibited, should be no problem. Besides in a risky or dangerous situation, some indication is better than none; LEDs being a whole lot safer than chemical flares which burn. Dave
 

Dave_H

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Joined
Nov 3, 2009
Messages
589
Location
Ottawa Ont. Canada
This may be a bit off the original topic, but relevant I think to electronic road flares.

A friend I worked with, also into electronics, is a runner, sometimes doing so in low light conditions.
For visibility he created a strip LED arrangement attached to his vest, powered by a Li-ion battery.
The controller flashes LEDs in a pattern of three short flashes with gap between. He believes this
is optimal for getting attention, compared to regular on/off flash, or other patterns.

( I guess such users could be considered "slow-moving vehicles".)

As a small project I designed my own simple controller using a common/cheap IC (CD4060) plus
some resistors, capacitors, diodes and transistor. By changing connections I can get different
patterns including 50% on/off, or 2,4,8 flashes per group with gap between, at various speeds.
A microcontroller such as PIC could give huge number of possible patterns, I'm sure it's been
done, but I kept this one simple, such that just about anyone could build it.

The question is, which type of flash sequences would be best for getting attention, but not
too distracting? I know police light bars use a few rapid flashes, alternating between groups.
Assume in this case a single LED, or an array all driven together. A very rapid strobing strikes
me as too distracting, and though I've not heard of specific incidents, might trigger epileptic
seizure in some people.

What are some of these road flare products doing?

Dave

I continue working on the simple low-cost LED flasher circuit which can create a number of
flash/strobe effects. This remains a simple design, one IC (CD4060) plus handful of additional components;
almost anyone could build.

Circuit works down to 4vdc but could be tweaked to run directly from a single Li-ion cell.
Presently it could run off a Li-ion charger pack which puts out 5v; which would allow swap-out.
Even lower-capacity ones (at low cost) say 1800mAh would last hours., if not a day or more.

One sequence I achieved with minor circuit change is a run of fast strobing flashes (4 or 8)
followed by a short or long gap. This mimics what I've seen on some service vehicles.

In a dollar store was found strings of ten 5mm LEDs powered from 2xAA: yellow (closer to
amber) and orange (from Hallowe'en). These are quite visible especially if overdriven a bit,
but not excessively as the duty cycle of my circuit is typically only 25% (which helps run-time).
I was thinking that LEDs could be stuffed into a clear plastic tube, or mounted to outside,
pointing in different (or same) direction.

Dave
 

seery

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Feb 10, 2006
Messages
1,613
Location
USA
We only trust PowerFlare.

Used by LE, military and NASA, they are the toughest and most reliable LED flares available.

Pricey, but worth every cent.

https://shop.pfdci.com
 
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