Visibility of traffic signs and devices is not just a nighttime concern. During the day, low-light conditions, unclear travel cues, and visual clutter can obscure key road signs and traffic devices, leading to accidents or even death.
About 1.25 million people die each year on the world’s roads. And between 20 and 50 million sustain non-fatal injuries.1
Road traffic injuries are currently estimated to be the 9th leading cause of death across all age groups globally, and are predicted to become the 7th leading cause of death by 2030.1
In the U.S., 51% of fatal crashes occurred during the daytime.2
Drivers need enhanced guidance, both day and night, to help avoid incidents and accidents.
While standard sign sheeting reflects incoming visible wavelengths of light, fluorescent sign sheeting also transforms invisible ultraviolet rays into reflected visible light. Because fluorescent sheeting re-radiates UV wavelengths as visible wavelengths, the sum of the reflected and emitted light is greater than that of ordinary sheeting.
During the day, this means brighter traffic materials that appear to glow, even at dawn, dusk, or with overcast skies.
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First, it is because fluorescent colorants are very intense.
But fluorescent colorants also have a second unique property not associated with “normal” colors. This extraordinary property allows them to take some of the invisible short-wave light/energy and re-radiate the energy as longer, visible light waves. Fluorescent colorants, in effect, cause a “shift” from shorter invisible radiation to visible light at longer wavelengths. In simple terms, such colorants may be thought of as “more efficient” than ordinary colors at utilizing the light/energy that reaches them.
Studies show that fluorescent materials are recognized at greater distances and with more accurate perception of color than non-fluorescent materials. They also help drivers recognize and respond to unfamiliar road conditions quickly, which may help decrease collisions over time.
However, not all fluorescent materials are equally effective. Combined ultraviolet and visible light reflections determine a material’s total brightness. And materials with higher levels of fluorescence result in improved visibility.
To be considered fluorescent, a material should be able to re-emit invisible light as visible light. This property can be measured and verified. This helps manufacturers understand the performance of fluorescent technology over time.
Because the natural light that reaches us at dawn, during evening twilight, and through overcast skies contains more of the shorter, blue-end waves, fluorescent colors appear even more visible to the human eye under those conditions. This is why fluorescent traffic signs are most effective during adverse daytime driving conditions.
Combining fluorescent colors with the high-performance reflectivity of Diamond Grade sheeting ensures superior visibility for traffic control signs and devices, where and when they are needed the most. Fluorescent materials are available in different colors for both temporary and permanent traffic control in work zones, school zones, and incident management applications.