Early Warning Device for cars: Must-have safety tool for every Pinoy driver

Updated Aug 18, 2023 | Same topic: Survive driving in the Philippines

According to LTO rules, early warning device for cars must be carried at every time in case of emergency.

I. Early warning device for cars

In our day and age, cars have become so reliable that you would not expect them to have a major engine or transmission problems even at around 100,000 on the odometer but there are some situations where you need to stop.

And one of the most common reasons is to change a car tire or worse; you ran out of gas. These reasons sometimes do not choose when and how they will happen and you will need to stop for you and for your car’s safety. Sometimes it’s on a quiet provincial road and sometimes it may also happen on along a busy highway.

There’s one constant thing you need to do however if you do need to stop, and that’s deploying an early warning device car.

1. What is an Early Warning Device?

Now some of you beginner drivers or those who just got their first car might be wondering, what is the early warning device meaning?

Now as defined by the Land Transportation Office of the Philippines, the early warning device is a safety tool that provides you with the safety net by way of added visibility especially during an emergency stop on a road.

It is triangular in shape and is made out of very reflective plastic materials. These early warning devices or EWDs come in pairs; one yellow and one red.

Early warning device image in the Philippines

A typical Early Warning Device in the Philippines

>>> Also check out: 8 must-have items for your car emergency kit

2. Early Warning Device for cars: Distance

For optimal visibility, the red triangle should be placed around six meters from the car and the yellow one at around six meters away from the red EWD.

The idea behind this is the yellow one will inform other motorists that there’s a hazard ahead and that the red one will warn that the said hazard, which is your parked or stalled car, is nearby.

On the highway though, you might want to stretch out these distances a little bit because typically cars on the highway travel faster. In addition to the distance requirement, your early warning devices must be tilted slightly backward at 5 to 10 degrees perpendicular to the surface of the road.

This ensures that the light coming from other cars will bounce from the reflectorized sides of the EWD. Now what you do not want to do is to place the two EWDs side by side as it would defeat the purpose of them having different colors.

A picture of early warning devices correctly depoloyed

Here's the correct way of deploying the red and yellow emergency warning devices

Now aside from warning others that your stalled or parked car has become a potential road hazard, these early warning devices can also be useful of warning other motorists of other things on the road that might cause an accident especially if you come across the said hazard first.

It might be that you came across a collision on the road, a large dead animal, a landslide, a damaged unpassable road, etc. Deploying a EWD in order to protect other cars and their passengers also displays courtesy on your part. Also, carrying and using a EWD is one of the best practices of a responsible car owner. It is, after all, an essential safety tool required by the LTO.

>>> Read the helpful tips: How to fix a rough idle or stalling car?

II. Early Warning Device LTO rules and penalties

As we’ve said earlier, the Early Warning Device is required by the Philippine Land Transportation Office as per their Memorandum Circular No. VFT-2012-1609.

So it is actually signed into law that you must carry a pair in your car. There are also guidelines in the said memo as to how these are deployed which we’ve already described above.

1. No Early Warning Device Penalty

To ensure compliance, the LTO has placed penalties for driving a motor vehicle (except motorcycles) without carrying a pair of emergency warning devices. First is a fine of Php 500. Second, your license will be confiscated until you are able to prove that you have purchased a pair of EWDs.

And lastly, if your vehicle was impounded and was found out to have no EWDs then the concerned authorities will not release the said vehicle until you are able to present a pair of emergency warning devices to the officer in charge.

lto violation no early warning device penalty

LTO penalty applied for no early device is P500

>>> Worth reading: Complete list of LTO fines and penalties in the Philippines

2. Early Warning Device: Rules and guidelines

As we or you have seen on the road on multiple occasions, there are some careless drivers who make use of either damaged early warning devices or even some that do not conform to the prescribed parameters of an EWD as indicated by the LTO.

Some cheapskates even use tree branches or rocks and these are next to useless in terms of giving visibility. So as indicated by the LTO, Early warning device for cars must have all of these specifications:

Dimensions: Sides of the EWD must be at least 40 cm long and 5 cm wide.

Material and operation: Each EWD must come in a pair; one yellow and one red, are triangular in shape, collapsible and made out of reflectorized plates.

Quality of Visibility: The EWD triangles must be visible even in harsh, adverse weather from 400 meters when using high beams.

A picture of a very foggy road

As prescribed by the LTO, an early warning device must still be visible in this kind of weather

Effectivity: While the EWD is not actually required to be presented during LTO vehicle registration, the said device will be checked upon demand by the LTO. It is mandatory for all motor vehicles to expect for motorcycles and tricycles and a pair must be carried at all times.

When and where: The EWD must be deployed whenever your car is stopped for any reason or when it is compelled to stop on an area where standing or parking is prohibited.

III. Early warning device: Price & 5 recommended products

For a potentially lifesaving tool, the early warning device does not actually cost that much to purchase. Also, most car accessory shops and hardware stores actually have EWDs in stock. Here are the 5 recommended early warning devices and relative prices for your choice!

5 Early Warning Devices Philippines
Fey Feature
Multi-Function Work Light Car Early Warning Device Triangle Sign
Early Warning Device Reflective Triangle Signage High Degree in Visibility
Well-design EWD
DEFLECTOR Early Warning Device
Easy for storage
Early Warning Device Reflectorized Triangles with Unique Exclamation Point
Great design
Early Warning Device (heavy duty) with sticker
With LTO required sticker


1. Multi-Function Work Light Car Early Warning Device Triangle Sign

This Early Warning Device might be the most ambitious looking item in this list. It consists of super bright LEDs that can be used not only for your car but also for camping, hiking, fishing, and more. The Early Warning Device lights up to 500 lumens and has a charging port.

  • Heavy Duty
  • Waterproof
  • Versatile
  • The excess features that make it pricier might be unnecessary

2. Early Warning Device Reflective Triangle Signage High Degree in Visibility

This early warning device comes with a unique design that shines in yellow. It is an EWD from Bose Car Accessories that has a measurement that spans 45.5 cm in height (including stand), 43 cm in length, and 5 cm in width.

  • A really cheap option
  • Easy for storage
  • Well-design EWD
  • Not the best in terms of quality

3. DEFLECTOR Early Warning Device

The DEFLECTOR Early Warning Device is the best rated EWD in Lazada for the right reasons. It is really affordable and it gets the job done. This EWD provides really good high visibility whether it is day or night time.

  • Affordable
  • Easy to fold and easy to store in its hard plastic storage case
  • It is lightweight and prone to damage

4. Early Warning Device Reflectorized Triangles with Unique Exclamation Point

If you want a high-quality early warning device, then this might be the item for you. It comes with a really distinct and sleek design that comes with a unique exclamation point. However, the price might be a bit too much for an EWD in comparison to other items.

  • High quality
  • Heavy duty
  • Great design
  • Relatively expensive

5. Early Warning Device (heavy duty) with sticker

If you want to support local, then this might be the early warning device for you. This item is a high-quality early warning device that comes with an LTO required sticker. As for dimension, this EWD spans 45.5 cm in height (including stand), 43 cm in length, and a standard 5 cm in width.

  • High degree of visibility
  • Heavy duty
  • Folds easily
  • The price might be relatively expensive for an EWD

IV. FAQs about Early Warning Devices

Question: How to set up an early warning device?

Answer: Find a safe spot to pull over first then place your red triangle 4m away from your vehicle. Lastly, set your yellow triangle 6m away from your red triangle.

Question: Why is an early warning device a must-have?

Answer: An early warning device reduces the risk of an accident as it helps motorists see you on the road. It will not only make you safe but also the motorists that will pass by you.

Question: Are early warning devices required in the Philippines?

Answer: According to the Memorandum Circular No. VPT-2012-1609 or Revised Rules on the Implementation of the Early Warning Device Requirement, an EWD is a mandatory accessory for all motor vehicles, except motorcycles and tricycles. So yes, it is required.

Question: What is the price for an early warning device in the Philippines?

Answer: An early warning device won’t cost you that much considering how helpful it can be on the road. It ranges from Php 125 to Php 1000, depending on the quality.

Question: How many types of early warning devices are there?

Answer: There are standard measurements for EWDs so there’s not a lot of different types out in the market.

>>> Visit Philkotse.com for more articles on safe driving and tips on basic car maintenance.

Cesar G.B. Miguel

Cesar G.B. Miguel


Cesar Guiderone B. Miguel was born and raised in Iligan City, Lanao Del Norte. He graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of Arts in English degree from Mindanao State University - Iligan Institute of Technology. He previously worked as a freelance writer for various websites, as a member of the Iligan City Disaster Risk Reduction Management's training staff, and as a medical sales representative.

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