With distracted driving on the rise, it’s only become more important to increase pedestrian and roadway safety. Between cellphone usage and the increased amount and function of technology in vehicles these days, keeping your full attention on the road has become a lot more difficult. Driving at night has always been a more challenging aspect for many drivers as well. The reduced visibility leaves less reaction time and results in more incidents. To combat this, there are a wide variety of products available to help keep driver’s attention on the road at key moments. Options vary from flashing LED signs to reflective road paint and everything in between. Using a reflective traffic paint can play a large role to increase driver safety and visibility at night.
WHAT IS IT?
One common misconception is that the paint used on roads and highways is a reflective paint. In reality, the reflectivity comes by adding glass beads to your wet traffic paint directly after striping. These glass beads, also known as highway marking spheres, provide a cost-effective nighttime roadway delineation. It does so by a process called retro-reflection, which is a fancy way to say that the glass beads reflect light back to the original light source, whether that’s car headlights, a flashlight or anything else. This makes the lines brighter and easier to see during the night to assist drivers with staying in their lane.
There are a wide variety of glass bead options available. There are three types of beads, with Type I being the most common but all with different applications. You have different bead size, refractive index, clarity and roundness options as well. These different characteristics help determine which beads to use in which situations.
WHICH DO I USE?
While there are many different options, the common Type I glass bead will most likely fulfill your needs. The Type I option is also known as the DOT reflective glass beads and is accepted by most state and federal DOTs. As long as it is a Type I and has a refractive index of 1.5 or higher, you should be good to go! If you’re using a striping machine for application, you’ll want to make sure the bead size is appropriate for your machine to ensure optimal coverage. If you have any questions regarding which glass beads you need, give us a call here at Traffic Safety & Equipment and we would be more than happy to assist!