It’s Time to Get Retro in Your Road Safety
The use of signs on our roads has become extremely important for safety purposes, especially around schools, construction sites, and areas where a large number of pedestrians typically congregate. However, these signs need to be visible to the general public and passing vehicles both at day and at night. With that being said, there have been many great advances in technology when it comes to creating sign visibility, which in turn can avert danger and help to avoid accidents becoming commonplace. This post discusses the use of visibility and reflectivity for use in traffic safety.
The sheeting can best be described as the front of a sign, which is then attached to the surface of a sign. The sheeting is used to determine exactly how sturdy a sign is going to be, as well as its retroreflectivity. This is because it is now law that all traffic signs must be reflective, as this can alert passing motorists of potential hazards, irrespective of the light visibility on the road.
Retroreflectivity is a specific measure of a material which must be able to reflect light. This is used to measure how visible a sign is to the original source which points light at a sign. A prime example of this is obviously signs of the highways and roads, which typically alert drivers and pedestrians of any potential dangers, hazards, or things they should be aware of on a stretch of upcoming road. The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have set out a number of laws and regulations about the reflective nature of traffic signs.
The sheeting material on signs which was originally used was engineer grade reflective, and this seemed to do very well for many years. However, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) brought new legislation into place, which decided that the engineer grade reflective was not as good as it should be. Most sheeting on signs has now been replaced with High Intensity Reflective, often referred to as Prismatic, and Diamond Grade Reflective. The High Intensity Reflective has now been approved by all three governing bodies mentioned above, and is therefore seen in the vast majority of roadside signs.
However, where greater visibility is required, these governing bodies have stated that Diamond Grade Reflective should be used. Diamond Grade Reflective is known to offer extremely high retroreflectivity, and is usually used on roads which have very sharp turns, roads which aren’t very well lit, and also for roads which encompass very steep hills. The additional retroreflectivity of the Diamond Grade Reflective ensures that signs are visible to both motorists and pedestrians on these difficult roads.
There are many different types of traffic control equipment in use on our roads today, as the number of vehicles steadily increases. We are also used to seeing various road works and ad hoc constructions sites sprouting up all over the place, as the local, federal and national governments do their best to improve the state of our roads. However, it is of the utmost importance that safety is the first thing on everyone’s mind to ensure that accidents are kept to a minimum.
Sarah has been writing about road safety for a little over 5 years now for more information, click here.