In the framework of the campaign “Let them notice you – stay alive!” The network of petrol stations in Latvia Neste, in collaboration with the Autoziņas program, conducted an experiment by testing various reflective materials. The purpose of the action is to find out which of them are best seen by drivers of cars.
For those who care about their safety on the road in the dark or in poor visibility conditions, different types of reflectors are available, but the dimensions of a specific reflector, its placement and the quality of the reflective material must be taken into account.
Properly placed light reflector warns the driver in a timely manner that there is a pedestrian on the sidewalk, on a pedestrian crossing or on the roadway. Even if the driver is not sure that the object flickering in the dark is human, the driver will try to avoid this object. It should be borne in mind that the reflective elements should be at the height of the driver’s gaze in order to be better visible.
In the Neste experiment, several reflective elements were tested: a hat with a reflective caption, a bracelet, a badge, a safety vest, a light of a mobile phone – to make sure that the reflectors played a safe role for pedestrians.
The experiment showed the following results:
A reflective bracelet or ribbon driver notices from a distance of 500 meters. It is better to strengthen it on the arm or leg in the part of the body that is closer to the roadway. Plus a reflective bracelet that the driver of the car sees it from all sides.
Reflective vest is visible from a distance of more than 500 meters. This is a suitable solution when moving around marginal or poorly lit areas, as well as when riding a bicycle. The biggest plus of the vest is that the reflective tapes are visible from all sides, and the person in the vest is noticed in time.
The experiment showed that the reflective badge attached to the clothes is not reliable enough – its biggest disadvantage is that it is visible only from one side. In addition, the badge can cover with clothing that makes it invisible to the driver and accordingly reduces safety.
Clothing with a light-reflecting element may not be noticed in a timely manner if the light-reflecting element is small or does not have sufficient reflective properties, and is also visible from only one side. The biggest disadvantage is that such a reflector is visible only when the pedestrian itself is already visible.
A pocket flashlight or mobile phone flashlight is a good option if the beam of light is turned in the direction of travel, then drivers will notice it. If this kind of lighting is used, it is important to move along the left side of the road.
When comparing all the mentioned light reflecting elements, it turned out that the most effective and, accordingly, safe means of protection are a light reflecting bracelet and light reflecting vest. Both of these security elements are noticeable from a sufficiently large distance so that the driver is able to properly respond, and the reflective material is visible from all angles.