An introduction to high visibility vehicle markings

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With an increased volume of traffic on the roads, it’s important to develop ways to improve road safety. High visibility vehicle markings are an important part of road safety because they make it easier for motorists to see other vehicles, particularly at night or during bad weather.

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Why do we need it?
Micro-prismatic reflective markings on your vehicle help you to be more visible in the dark when a light source is present. Different chapter 8 chevrons colours reflect different amounts of light. Certain colours and materials are chosen to be more reflective in the dark. Retroreflectors on vehicles are used to reflect light along the path from which it originates, making it seem brighter.

Who uses it?
Emergency service vehicles and highway maintenance vehicles that regularly make stops on high-speed roads use high-visibility vehicle markings to protect drivers and emergency workers in challenging and dangerous working situations.

What’s the legal requirement?
According to trade association REMA, in July 2011, legislation made marking to ECE104 mandatory on new trucks and trailers. Vehicle operators are also advised to follow suit, as Highways Agency contracts already require it.

Reflective material is now used in a variety of settings, including helping the UK highway sector stay safe under regulation. Any newly registered HGVs in Europe that are over 7.5 tonnes and trailers that are over 3.5 tonnes are required to have specific high visibility vehicle markings, according to regulation ECE104.

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Side reflectors are strips that run along the side of a vehicle. Side markers are amber lamps, fitted to the side of a vehicle or trailer every 3m or less. Yellow side markings are required on goods vehicles and trailers with a DGVW of more than 3,500 kg or that are 11m in overall length. Red rear markings are required on goods vehicles and trailers carrying more than 3,500 kg. Wide Load signs are for machinery wider than 3.5m driving on public roads, accompanied by an escort vehicle with dipped highlights in front. Both vehicles must carry flashing amber beacons with the sign visible on the rear of each. Long vehicle signs are required on the rearmost vehicle in a combination of vehicles exceeding 13m in length, as well as goods and vehicles which carry over 3,500 kg.

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