An introduction to fluorescent traffic signs

There were 1,782 reported road deaths in 2018, with the number of reported road traffic accident casualties of all severities exceeding 160,000. The visibility of traffic signs is important at all times so that drivers are aware of any possible dangers or obstacles around them; in turn, this helps to prevent accidents. In low light conditions, unclear or not fully visible travel cues can lead to confusion and can result in accidents. It has been suggested that all road signs should be fluorescent, as these are more effective than other materials and ensure that drivers are always able to see them.

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Why is fluorescent better?

Fluorescent sheeting re-radiates UV wavelengths as visible wavelengths, so it reflects much more than other sheeting. This means that traffic materials appear to glow even during the day or in lower light conditions without any other lights needed to reflect off them.

It has been found in studies that fluorescent materials are recognised at greater distances and are more accurately determined than signs that do not use these materials. Using fluorescent materials means that even when cars do not have their lights turned on, the material will still glow and give them a higher chance of seeing the signs in low-level lighting when it is not necessarily dark enough for their car lights to be switched on.

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Not just for street signs

Fluorescent material is not only used on street signs but also on vehicles such as highway maintenance or emergency vehicles. This reflective material is a great thing to have for vehicles that are going to be travelling slowly or park at the side of the road, as it will alert drivers to their presence.

Chapter 8 chevrons can be made from fluorescent material and are used by emergency vehicles and companies in industries such as construction and highway maintenance across the UK. Kits are available from companies such as and are specific to different makes and models, meaning they can easily be used on all vehicle types.

Having these fluorescent materials on company vehicles not only protects the general public from accidents but can also ensure that the workers using them are safe from other vehicles colliding into them when they are working at the side of the road.

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