Best Emergency Recovery Lights 2022
Breaking down can be a scary experience, especially if you are unlucky enough to have to stop on an unlit country road or on a so-called smart highway with no shoulder. This is when making sure your stuck car can be seen by other vehicles could literally save your life.
Although warning triangles are not a legal requirement in the UK, they can make a real difference to your safety if your vehicle comes to a halt, alerting other drivers that there is danger long before they only see your car.
But are triangles still the best way to make sure you’re seen in an emergency? There are now many other warning devices that claim to offer even better protection by making your car visible from further away.
As the long, dark nights of winter approach, we’ve tested six to see which one has the best chance of keeping you safe while waiting for help to arrive.
How we tested them
We placed all our devices on one side of a field and assessed how well they could be seen from 500 meters away at night and in direct sunlight. For those that weren’t illuminated, we aimed the headlights at low and high beam to see how well they reflected.
Those with lights were either fully charged or fitted with identical alkaline batteries and left on for 18 hours to see how long they lasted. We also sprayed them with water to simulate heavy rain, while the final factor was price from online sources.
Tips to be seen
Although some UK drivers wear lights like the ones we tested here, along with high-visibility jackets and red warning triangles, there’s no legal requirement to do so in the UK. Cross the English Channel, however, and you could get in trouble with European police forces if you don’t remember the last two items.
No matter where you drive, however, the benefits of carrying these safety kit pieces never change. If you break down at night, you’ll probably be happy for the chance to make yourself more visible.
Red warning triangles should be placed approximately 46 meters behind your vehicle. With warning lights, follow the manufacturer’s instructions to see if the recommended distance differs.
The Powerlantz offered adaptability and the brightest warning lights at a decent price. It takes our Best Buy award and it’s the device we’ll keep in our car.
- Powerlantz Car Emergency Light Failure Kit
Powerlantz Car Emergency Light Failure Kit
Rather than being a triangle, the Powerlantz is shaped like an upturned pudding basin with six bright LEDs fitted inside. These can be used in a variety of flashing modes to warn traffic, and they can be placed in the road away from your car or attached to it using a magnet or hook. Once in place, the bottom of the unit can be tilted so you can ensure the lights are aimed in the perfect position.
To make the Powerlantz even more useful, a bright white LED work light is also included, providing essential illumination if you need to change a wheel or attempt other repairs. It also means the kit could come in handy on a camping trip or during a power outage. But the crucial advantage over competitors is the price.
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The BriteAngle looks like a normal, albeit substantial, warning triangle. But press a button and a series of bright LEDs flash to make it much more visible than just a reflective device. What’s really impressive is how the triangle fits into its storage case to create a study accessory, which kept it upright even in high winds during our test. You can also use the supplied suction cup to mount it on your car.
In flashing mode, the LEDs continued to flash brightly for 21 hours and ignored our rainstorm simulation. But while other triangles have work lights, rechargeable batteries and other features that make them useful for camping or working on a car, the BriteAngle has only one purpose. This means that the price seems high, especially since you would have to buy three Powerlantz kits.
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Nightsearcher HazStar Rechargeable Work Light
The HazStar may seem expensive compared to some of the other products here, but it has some features to justify the cost.
First, the battery is rechargeable via a mini-USB port and can act as a power bank for other devices. The red flashing triangle elements can be removed from the main unit and placed magnetically on parts of the car while you use the helpfully bright lamp to illuminate any repairs.
It’s too expensive to keep in the trunk just for emergencies, but if you’re using the worklight or the built-in power bank, it starts to make more sense.
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Pulsar AAA Night Search
Like the Powerlantz, the Pulsar can either be placed in the road away from your car to warn of danger, or attached to the vehicle itself using a powerful magnet. There is a wide combination of flashing or solid LED patterns and a white light torch.
To help survive being left on the road, it is tough and can handle being hit by a car or submerged in water. The Pulsar is about half the size of the Powerlantz, so it’ll take up less room in your trunk too, but the flashing lights weren’t quite as bright as those of the top rivals here.
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Fiesta Center Emergency Warning
- Price: Around £10
- Rating: 3.5 stars
- Contact: ebay.co.uk
We included this triangle in the test to see what you could get for around £10 and were pleasantly surprised. This small triangle can either stand alone with the simple support mechanism, attached to the car with suction cups, or placed in the center of a traditional warning triangle.
The single flashing red LEDs lasted over 18 hours on a pair of AA batteries and were clearly visible from 500m away. It even survived our soaking with a hose, despite the apparent lack of waterproofing. For such a great price, it’s gimmick-free and useful.
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Be seen screen
The Be Seen screen has no light but is made of the same material as the emergency vehicles livery, which means it reflects the headlights of other vehicles incredibly, even on low beam from a distance.
The panel rolls out and has suction cups at each corner to hold it in place on the back of your car. It’ll no doubt help show off your car but it’s cumbersome to store and has no other use, unlike the lights here, which have built-in torches. It’s also way too expensive. If the screen were half the price, we might feel a bit more inclined to recommend it.
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Wolf Teeth LED Warning Triangle
The Wolfteeth Triangle seems to provide most of the functionality of the Nightsearcher HazStar but at a quarter of the cost. It’s actually half the size, and while it offers a plug for rechargeable batteries, none are included.
There’s also no magnet or hook to mount it to your car, so you have to rely on a simple bracket to keep the light away from your vehicle. The red LEDs can flash or stay solid, while the three-LED work light has
two power levels. It was noted mainly because it instantly failed when sprayed with water.
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