Sometimes we need to return to basics. Lately, I have noticed more and more improperly placed triangles. It bothers me. Triangles, or fuses (flares) are required in every truck. I don't know anyone who carries fuses any more. So when I say triangles, it also coves fuses. Not having your triangles is a safety violation. You can buy a set for around $35. It is not that big a deal. Buy them. Put them in your side box and leave them there. Hopefully, you will never have to use them.

The first breakdown that I saw this week the driver placed the triangles all in a row about 10 feet behind his trailer. One behind the driver side corner, one in the middle, and one near the passenger side corner. The next breakdown I saw, the driver put them all at about the middle of your trailer. One was at about 10 fet- then another 10 feet to the next one – then another 10 feet to the 3rd one. They were utterly useless. Proper placement in these instances on the interstate is to put the first one about 10 feet off the left (driver side) of the rear of the vehicle. In this case it would be the trailer. Then go 40 paces, or about 100 feet and place one half way between the driver side and the passenger side. The last one again is about 40 paces or 100 feet further back. This time place it to line up with the passenger side corner.



Placement of the triangles depends on the type of road that you are on. This is not rocket science. These are basic fundamental rules. If in doubt, look it up in your little green FMCSA hand book. You should have one in your truck. The information is also available on the internet. The regulation number is 392.22.




There are movie scenes that stick with you. There was the scene in the Vince Lombardi movie. Lombardi was furious with his team because they weren't doing the fundamentals well. In a team meeting he said that it is time to get back to basics and he held up a football and said “This is a football.”. Then Max Mc Gee replied “Could you get a little more basic than that.” The room laughed, The Packers got the message and went on to win the championship. To paraphrase Lombardi – This is a triangle.




Check to make sure that you have triangles. It should be part of your daily inspections. While we are thinking about it, did you check to make sure that your fire extinguisher is good to go? That is also part of your inspection. Hopefully, your triangles will remain safely tucked away in your side box. If you do have to use them, put them in the right place.



Comments (4)

Jeff Clark

Jeff Clark of Kewaunee, WI has been driving a truck for 24 years. He has been an owner operator for 11 years.

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Stephen,you're right. I can never remember an inspector even opening up the box.

December 18, 2015 4:36:51 AM

Jeff I would agree seems like drivers put them out any way they want. Sometimes we see only one or two and not three. I have had DOT inspectors only look at the box that holds the triangles and never in it. BTW, we also have fuses in the truck.

December 17, 2015 12:14:02 PM

I have never had a DOT inspector actually even open the box. So, your guy is right and smart.

December 16, 2015 6:17:15 AM

Some of the triangle boxes do have instructions on how to place them. I have seen far too many drivers that did not know to twist the base section perpendicular to the actual triangle, so the first passing truck blows them over. During a recent DOT inspection for my company at a truckstop, the mechanic asked to see mine. Usually just opening the side box satisfies them, this guy wanted me to open the box. He said he started doing that because there are inspectors that quality check the mechanics, and he inspected and OK'd a truck that the triangle box was full of dirt and rocks! So now he wants to actually see them.

December 16, 2015 6:06:46 AM