Home How does a Reflective Product Work How does a Reflective Product Work

How does a Reflective Product Work? PDF Print E-mail
Terminology can be confusing, people might ask for
a "glo" product  or for a "neon sticker", when they
really want and need a safety reflector  in the dark.

how a safety reflector works

Reflector - sometimes called a "retro reflector", is a product that actually reflects light from a source back to the eye of the beholder. The source can be headlights of a car, or even a flashlight. A reflector can be made of hard plastic, of fabric, or of a soft vinyl film fabricated into an unlimited variety of shapes.

There are soft- and hard prismatic reflectors and glass bead reflectors, but when these are manufactured and used correct, they reflect light sufficiently to make the wearer visible in the dark from about 150 to 300 meters away or even more from the light source of a car, or a motorcycle, depending of the strength of the light beam.

A pedestrian safety reflector should swing freely, be seen from the front and rear, and it must return the light with a flash for your best protection on the dark roads and streets.

Other terms of reflectivity but not used for safety products:

? Fluorescent - be aware that the fluorescent films only shine brighter when light hit  on it and products made of fluorescent material are just fun details at parties, but anything made with the fluorescent film or paint are not reflecting light at all, only giving a glow-effect from a fluorescent film.

Too often fluorescent products are sold as reflectors, which they are not and should be classified only as toys. Their visibility in the dark is about same distance as the colour they are made in, which is same as walking in the dark without a safety reflector.

fake slap wrap

When the light hits a genuine safety reflector, the reflective surface is completely white and bright as shown above on left side photo of a Slap Wrap safety reflector and genuine pedestrian safety reflectors are always provided with a certification; CE EN 13356.

? Glow-In-The-Dark or Luminescent - when the lights go out, glow-in-the-dark materials start to work. They emit a soft green light that slowly fades as time passes. They are only visible in absolute darkness. Stickers and signs frequently use glow-in-the-dark materials or inks. Only luminescent sign products are normally used in safety applications, but they’re to guide us in the dark and do not work as reflectors.

? Iridescent - a prismatic film diffusing light into varied patterns and normally provides an assortment of prism colours as the direction of viewing changes. Very decorative, but should not be used for any safety programs or products, because it does not reflect light.

reflective safety in the dark



? Be aware that some brands of reflectors may look the same but would not pass the requirement for reflectivity and give a false sense of safety to  anyone who uses them.



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