Sunday, July 31, 2022

Electronic Road Flares

Not actually Erin.
& is used with permission.
Road flares can be incredibly useful if your car breaks down on the road, especially if it's dark outside or you're in inclement weather which restricts visibility. These flares will demonstrate that you need assistance while also alerting other drivers to your stopped vehicle and, hopefully, preventing those other drivers from crashing into you. 

Unfortunately, flares are also on fire and as a result can cause severe burns to people who accidentally touch them or set fire to things which shouldn't be on fire. 

Electronic road flares eliminate the burn hazard of conventional flares while also having the benefits of running longer and being reusable. Some can even be configured to flash, thereby increasing their ability to get the attention of other drivers. 

I recently picked up a set of three LED road flares and, while I have not tested these under real-world conditions, I am pleased with their performance and am satisfied with their reviews (4.7 stars and 1,244 reviews).

The Ecoangel USB Rechargeable LED Road Flares have the following features:
  • A rubberized coating (for grip and to cushion against impacts) over a plastic body which the manufacturer says can survive being run over by a 30 ton vehicle. The casing is also said to be waterproof. 
  • A 650 mAh rechargeable battery with a claimed runtime of at least 2 hours on the highest setting (solid-on, high) and 48 hours on the lowest (single flash). The manufacturer says the battery will hold a charge for a year. It recharges via a micro-USB port. 
  • The lights can flash in 9 configurations, including SOS and a 3-LED white flashlight. 
  • The bottom of the puck has an N35 magnet and a deployable hook so that it can be used as a work light.
I don't understand why these come with 9 configurations; I think it would work just fine with single flash, SOS, solid-on, and the LED flashlight. It was probably just a matter of being super-easy to program them with multiple patterns, and so they were added because why not? I don't have a problem with this; I just think it's a bit odd.

I don't know how bright these are in terms of lumens or candela. What I can tell you is that these are not eye-searingly bright, even at their highest setting, so they won't render you flash-blind if you look them. However, they are plenty bright even when indoors, and at night they are quite the attention-getter. 

Some people might have a concern with these losing their charge, and that's understandable. I'm not worried because I also have in my car a 20,000 mAh power bank which, in addition to being able to jump start a dead automobile battery, also has USB outputs for charging other devices like a phone, GPS or tablet. If these lights run low I can use that to recharge them. However, if that's a concern you have then you can buy a version of these lights which take three AAA batteries instead

As I said I have not tested these, so my opinion of them might change in time, but for right now I am happy their performance for their very reasonable price ($20 and Prime shipping). 

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