Correct use of road flares
Road flares are obviously only for use in situations where your car is not operational for one reason or another and you need to bring attention to your vehicle so other vehicles will not hit it as they drive by. They will also help first responders find you quicker if you need their assistance. However, not all situations will warrant using road flares. Typically, you should use road flares if you have been in an accident or broken down in or near the road at night, if your car is not operable for any reason on a blind curve, or if you are on a tight shoulder and cannot get your car to the nearest exit or turn off.
If you end up in a situation where you will need to use road flares, you should know exactly how to ignite them. In the case of traditional non-LED road flares, first remove the cap. Then, strike the end of the flare that was covered by the cap on the coarse surface attached to the end of the outside of the cap. This works the same way a match and a matchbook do. The flare will then be ignited. Put the cap on the end of the flare that is not burning. Then place the flare on the ground where oncoming traffic will see the ignited end easily. Repeat as needed.
Road flare safety
There are several things you must do in order to remain safe when igniting and placing road flares. First, when you are going to ignite the flare hold it away from your body. Once it ignites, avoid looking directly into the ignited portion as it can be so it bright it can hurt your eyes. Also, do whatever you can to avoid inhaling the smoke given off from the flare as it contains harmful chemicals.
When you place a flare, make sure it is not placed near anything or any flammable fluids. In addition, do your best to avoid igniting road flares near any heavily wooded areas such as a forest or areas with lots of brush. When you are placing a flare, remember to pay attention to oncoming traffic so as to not be struck while you are doing so. Finally, make sure all flares are extinguished and removed from the road prior to leaving.
Road flares can be a literal lifesaver. If you are in a situation where you cannot move your car and it is in or near the path of traffic, flares can be the difference between traffic being able to see you or not. This can be the difference that spares a dangerous accident. If you ever do need to use road flares, use extreme caution and do so safely as road flares can start fires, cause burns and toxic smoke inhalation if used haphazardly.