Reflective Traffic Signs
Keeping you safe at night
“Reflective traffic signs are critical elements of safe road driving at night. With advances in luminescence, a modern traffic sign can provide high-visibility direction and warnings about the conditions of the roads, allowing drivers to reach their destinations safely. “
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Optimal placement of reflective traffic signs
Placement of signs affects their visibility. Because of the orientation of headlamps on cars, a low beam will create almost 100 percent luminescence…

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The science behind reflective traffic signs
Retroreflectivity is nothing more complicated than the return of light from a surface back to the source of light. Retroreflection relies on three principles…

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Welcome to

Scientists, philosophers and storytellers were fascinated with optics and reflectivity as early as the myth of Narcissus, as penned by Ovid in around 8 AD. Reflectivity and its study became much more important amid the automobile revolution of the early 20th century, though – local municipalities needed a way to make sure drivers could see signs, even in dark conditions. Early acetylene-based headlights were notoriously ineffective (and filament bulbs were unheard of until around 1908).

Although safety concerns continue to drive improvements in headlamps, sign reflectivity has improved only in spurts, starting with the first "cat's-eye" reflective signs. (Early signs were strewn with special dome-shaped nodules that glowed when light hit them, similar to the glowing markers in the middle and to the sides of some roads.) Contemporary signs come in several degrees of reflectivity, but the reflection comes entirely from special films on the signs themselves. These sophisticated films gather light and direct it back toward the source, making sure everyone can see stop, merge, and other lifesaving indications on the road.

In these pages, you'll learn about how reflectivity works, about the optimal placement of reflective signs, and about what's available on the market.

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