(a) No person shall operate any truck, passenger bus, or truck tractor upon any highway outside the corporate limits of municipalities at any time from a half hour after sunset to a half hour before sunrise unless there shall be carried in such vehicle the following equipment, except as provided in subsection (b) of this section:
(1) At least three flares or three red electric lanterns each of which shall be capable of being seen and distinguished at a distance of 500 feet under normal atmospheric conditions at nighttime. Each flare (liquid-burning pot torch) shall be capable of burning for not less than 12 hours in five miles per hour wind velocity and capable of burning in any air velocity from zero to 40 miles per hour. Every such flare shall be substantially constructed so as to withstand reasonable shocks without leaking. Every such flare shall be carried in the vehicle in a metal rack or box. Every such red electric lantern shall be capable of operating continuously for not less than 12 hours and shall be substantially constructed so as to withstand reasonable shock without breakage.
(2) At least three red-burning fusees unless red electric lanterns are carried. Every fusee shall be made in accordance with specifications of the Bureau of Explosives, New York, and so marked and shall be capable of burning at least 15 minutes.
(3) At least two red cloth flags, not less than 12 inches square, with standards to support same.
(b) No person shall operate at the time and under the conditions stated in subsection (a) of this section any motor vehicle used in the transportation of inflammable liquids in bulk, or transporting compressed inflammable gases unless there shall be carried in such vehicle three red electric lanterns meeting the requirements above stated and there shall not be carried in any vehicle any flares, fusees, or signal produced by a flame.
(c) As an alternative it shall be deemed a compliance with this section in the event a person operating any motor vehicle described in this section shall carry in such vehicle three portable reflector units on standards of a type approved by the department. No portable reflector unit shall be approved unless it is so designed and constructed as to include two reflectors one above the other each of which shall be capable of reflecting red light clearly visible from all distances within 500 feet to 50 feet under normal atmospheric conditions at nighttime when directly in front of lawful upper beams of head lamps.