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What is the V-16 luminous signal for and how can it help us in the event of an accident or breakdown?

¿Para qué sirve la señal luminosa V-16 y cómo nos puede ayudar en caso de siniestro o avería?


What to do in the event of a breakdown? For now, if a vehicle stops the triangles must be set up. The driver must put on the safety jacket, switch on the hazard lights and leave the vehicle to set up the triangles. One triangle must be placed in front and one behind at a minimum distance of 50 meters from the car and visible at a distance of 100 meters on two-way roads. If it is a one-way street, placing a triangle at the back is sufficient. In the event of a road incident, we must obviously activate the PWA (Protect, Warn and Aid) protocol.

In this case, the user placing the triangles is at great risk, especially when the breakdown or accident occurs on highways or dual carriageways, where vehicles are traveling at high speeds. In 2020 alone there were 92 pedestrian fatalities on intercity roads with 24-hour information, according to the Directorate General of Traffic (DGT) in Spain. In order to avoid this major risk for road users, the Spanish Traffic agency wants to replace the triangles with the V-16 light signal.

This way, the driver only has to extend his/her arm to place the light on the vehicle's roof. This light offers increased visibility. On the one hand, the risk of being run over is completely reduced, as the user does not have to get out of the car and, on the other hand, the 360-degree visibility is increased. 

This device can currently be used along with the triangles. We need to wait for the Traffic agency to make them compulsory, at which point a transition period will be given in which the user will be able to choose whether to use one element or the other to signal breakdowns or accidents. Subsequently, and with no foreseen date, only the use of the V-16 light signal will be mandatory.


Annex XI to the General Vehicle Regulations (Spain) sets out the characteristics that these lighting devices must have.

  • Auto Yellow luminous device.
  • Flash frequency: between 0.8 and 2 Hz.
  • It must have an IP54 degree of protection against external agents such as dust or water. 
  • Visible from approximately 1,000 meters distance and covers a 360-degree angle.
  • The power supply must be autonomous, that is, with a battery. 
  • It must be stable on a flat surface, without being able to move due to wind or rain.
  • The device must be approved and comply with the characteristics set out in the General Vehicle Regulations.


As indicated above, if we want to use this device, we must currently use it in combination with the triangles until it is included in the regulations. 

The user should keep the device in the glove compartment to have it at hand when needed. Under no circumstances should it be loose inside the passenger compartment, as it could be projected at the slightest braking. 

In the event of a breakdown or accident, getting out the vehicle is unnecessary. Simply open the window and place the  device, switched on, on the roof. It is advisable to place it on the highest part of the vehicle and as close to the traffic side as possible.

For now, the road user still needs to wear the reflective jacket and set up the triangles. 

Finally, it should be noted that within the smart mobility platform DGT 3.0, an access point for unique, free and accurate information in real time about what is happening on the roads, this luminous device is playing an important role. 

In particular, it is envisaged that the V-16 signals will be connected to the platform and will, in the future, allow other vehicles to be informed of the exact point where this signal is active. 

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