In the know: Do we always have to bring an early warning device for our cars?

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Early warning devices or EWDs are safety tools used to signal other motorists that you have made an emergency stop. These tools help drivers know that one has encountered a problem and tell passing vehicles — plying busy roads — to pay extra caution as the driver of the halted car might be changing a spare tire or probably working on an overheating radiator.


  • Is it unlawful to drive a car without an early warning device?

    Yes, it is against the law to drive a car without an early warning device according to the LTO.
  • What are the penalties for driving without an EWD?

    Drivers caught without an EWD can face a P500 fine and license confiscation.
  • But one does not drive a car and hope to run into problems right? That said, do you always have to bring an EWD? What happens if you’re apprehended without one? We’ll answer all that and more in this article.

    Tips driving

    It’s against the law not to have one

    Per the Land Transportation Office (LTO), it’s against the law to drive a motor vehicle without carrying a pair of early warning devices.

    Based on a mandate by the government agency, an EWD is a “mandatory accessory for all motor vehicles, except motorcycles and tricycles… a pair of EWDs shall be a required motor vehicle accessory that shall be carried at all times and presented by the driver/operator upon demand by LTO deputized law enforcer when apprehended for another offense.”

    In addition, the LTO also outlined the specifications of an EWD, so you simply can’t use a neon Mountain Dew plastic bottle and call it a day. According to the LTO, an EWD must be “triangular, collapsible, made of reflectorized plates, the side of which are at least 40 centimeters long and five centimeters wide.

    Furthermore, the LTO said that “the triangles must be visible even in adverse weather conditions at a distance of at least 400 meters at high beam.”

    So, that settles it. It’s unlawful to drive around without an early warning device in the trunk of your car. But what will happen to you if you have been apprehended without one?

    Penalties for driving without EWDs

    Per the mandate, the LTO said that apprehended drivers who are operating a motor vehicle without a pair of EWDs shall be fined P500 and will have their license confiscated until the drivers prove that they own and cary a pair of EWDs.

    Moreover, an impounded vehicle found to have no EWD will remain in the possession of relevant authorities until the owner can present an EWD.

    Bottom line

    Carrying EWDs is a must. Not only will it help you, but it will also aid other motorists in the event of an emergency. Plus, you won’t have to worry about dealing with fines and penalties from the LTO. 

    Photos from Zigwheels

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