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.
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 safety tool which 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 EWD’s comes in pairs; one yellow and one red.
A typical Early Warning Device in the Philippines
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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.
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?
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.
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 penalty applied for no early device is P500
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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.
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.
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.
For an early warning device at Ace Hardware, the Red-X brand EWDs are priced at Php 649 while the ESR branded ones are at Php 489.
Here's the Red-X branded EWD. They're a bit expensive but they sure are durable
For those who do not want to go out to the mall, there’s also one available at Lazada which is cheaper at around Php 250. These cheaper ones work but if you want long term durability, you might want to go for the branded EWDs.
>>> Visit Philkotse.com for more articles on safe driving and tips on basic car maintenance