Lighting a road flare is not hard – at least it is not supposed to be, but just like changing a flat tire, it is best if you practice and know what to expect before you actually need to use them.

Step 1: Pick up the road flare, having the side with the cap on facing away from you.

how to hold a road flare

Step 2: Remove the cap at one end of the flare and you will likely see a rough striking surface on the outside edge. The striking surface is typically a sheet of coarse material.

light a flare - how to hold it

Step 3: Remove the cap, exposing the flare’s igniter compound. If you need to twist to get the cap off, do it gently, as this is the end you will light the flare from.

remove the cap of the road flare

Step 4: Make sure you check the wind direction and surroundings before doing this step. Hold the body of the flare towards the base.


Strike the striking surface across the flare’s igniter compound in an outward motion, away from your body. Just like you would light a big match.

strike a road flare like a match

Remember, once lit, the flare will likely drip the molten materials from its end, so hold the flare as far away from your body and face as possible.

light a road flare

Step 5: Point the flare downward and place it wherever you need it. Do not drop it or throw it, as you will lose control over its location and the flare could break.

put the cap on the back of a flare

road flare on the ground

Do NOT extinguish the flare by stepping on it.