It is mandatory for all vehicles to carry two warning triangles. These triangles must be of a certified standard for Europe. Homologation certification is shown by the presence of a label, sticker or stamp, similar to that on child seats, which, amongst other codes referring to the manufacturer and other details, shows the letter “E” and a number in a circle. The code is sometimes in a box rather than a circle, but it depends on the product in question. For warning triangles, we are looking for a circle and in particular you are looking for E9. The “E” refers to a European standard and in this case, “9” refers to the item having been certified in Spain. By the way, E11 refers to the UK, but so long as your triangle carries the European certificated stamp, it is acceptable for use in Spain.
The reason two triangles must be carried is that at times we need to offer a warning and protection from vehicles approaching from the front, as well as from behind. We will look at that in some detail on the next page.
Once you have your warning triangles, the next stage is often overlooked, but it is a good idea to take them out or the packaging and assemble them a couple of times. Usually, when we need to use warning triangles we need to assemble them quickly to provide as much warning as possible. It is mandatory to carry them, but they will be of little use if you don´t know how to use them. That is why we recommend you practice, and keep practicing, so that if the time ever does arise, you know immediately how to assemble them.
If you are carrying them in your boot, although they should be in a secure place, we also suggest that you always have them at hand. It´s not a good idea to pile your shopping and other items on top of the triangles as if you do need to use them, you need to access them quickly.
Some vehicles have warning triangles installed as standard, sometime in the lid of the boot, which you can just take out at a moment’s notice. Again though, make sure you know how to take them out so that if you need them, you know exactly how to access them.
It is also a good idea to carry them in some kind of protective case and to ensure that they are kept clean so that their high visibility standards are maintained.
Where to Place Your Warning Triangles
In the event of your vehicle becoming immobilised on the road and causing a hazard, you must provide additional warnings to other road users of your presence. We deal with the entire process in another article but you must remember that the first thing you must do is switch on your vehicle´s hazard warning lights. This applies both in the day and at night.
You must then place your warning triangles in such a manner to provide sufficient warning to oncoming vehicles.
Ordinarily, you must place your triangles 50 metres away from your vehicle, so that they are visible from a distance of 100 metres.
On a normal two-way road you must place one triangle behind and one in front of your vehicle, both at a distance of 50 metres and visible from at least 100 metres.
On a one-way road, or a road which has more than 3 lanes, such as a motorway, you only need to place one triangle at the rear of your vehicle 50 metres away and visible from 100 metres.
Ensuring that your triangle is visible is crucial to offering a warning to approaching vehicles. In the event that your vehicle is after a bend or over the brow of a hill, move the triangle further away so that it is visible before vehicles reach the bend or brow.