All vehicles have provisions for night-time use, most commonly front and rear lights. Certain vehicles, however, require additional markings and assets to become even more visible during dark hours. Find out everything you need to know about vehicle safety markings with this helpful guide, created by our vehicle livery experts here at Lakeside Group.

Vehicle Safety Markings

Otherwise known as ‘conspicuity’ markings, vehicle safety markings help other road users or pedestrians identify other vehicles on roads, especially during the night, dusk or dawn, when natural light is reduced.

Over 40% of road traffic collisions occur in the hours of darkness (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents report), many of which can be attributed to lack of visibility. Therefore, it is critical vehicles are made visible to protect people, both employees and general public. This is especially important on high speed roads, for vehicles that stop on motorways, or heavy goods vehicles.

Aside from the critical safety benefit of vehicle visibility though safety markings, there are other benefits as a result of markings. Less accidents are important for businesses in reducing vehicle downtime, repair costs, employee safety and compliance.

Which Vehicles Need Safety Markings?

Many vehicles seen out on roads have safety markings on them from industrial fleets to commercial buses and coaches.

Some vehicle safety markings are stipulated by regulations created by the Department of Transport. Although not law, the Code of Practice is significant and generally adopted as Best Practice to follow. Failure to comply can result in liability or even criminal charges if a serious accidents results.

The regulations will be further explored below, however the long and short of it is that vehicles stopping on low and high-speed roads to perform work, such as road recovery vehicles, should have safety markings on as well as mobile support vehicles. Heavy goods vehicles are also stipulated in regulations to require safety markings as these often present more threat due to their size and weight, despite usually travelling at lower speeds on motorways, for example.

Here are some of the most common vehicle safety marking applications and their associated regulations:

Emergency services

Emergency vehicles are notoriously clad in bright reflective livery to stand out in regular road traffic. It is critical emergency vehicles are instantly recognised by pedestrians, road users and other responders so they can get to their required location quickly, safely and without restriction. Police cars, ambulances, fire engines and other emergency service vehicles are usually comprehensively wrapped in retroreflective material as described in the Home Office Document ‘High Conspicuity Livery for Police Vehicles’ 14/04 to make not just the shape of the vehicle stand out, but its exact purpose within the emergency services clear.

Work vehicles, higher speed roads – Chapter 8

As stipulated by Chapter 8 in the Department of Transport’s Traffic Sign Manual, vehicles that stop or are used for work on highways and high-speed roads should be suitably visible with rear chevron markings. The exact specifications for the chevrons depend on the size of the vehicle, however there are standards, such as red and yellow alternate stripes, and compliance is deemed best practice to the regulations. Find out more about Chapter 8

Work vehicles, lower speed roads – Safety at Street Works

The Safety at Street Works code of practice was created by the Department of Transport to highlight best practice for signage, lighting and related services around street and road works in the UK. Similar to the above Chapter 8 guidance, but for lower speed roads (< 50mph), Safety at Street Works stipulates features that must be present at street works in order for workers, pedestrians and other road users to remain safe. Examples of required safety equipment includes high visibility clothing, appropriate signage, and vehicle safety markings. Read our complete guide to Safety at Street Works for more information.

Heavy goods vehicles – ECE 104

Enforced since July 2011, regulation ECE 104 outlines the vehicle safety markings required for heavy goods vehicles. Vehicles over 7.5 tonnes and trailers over 3.5 tonnes, should have safety markings clearly outlining the rear and sides of the vehicle using retroreflective markings. Most commonly this is seen on fleet vehicles, however school buses, farm vehicles and slow-moving vehicles may also have safety contour markings.

Vehicle Safety Products and Qualities

Vehicle safety markings are usually retroreflective or fluorescent materials. Fluorescent materials work best in natural light to make materials brighter but are less effective in dimmer conditions. Retroreflective materials however reflect light back to the source and work well in the dark.

Here at Lakeside Group, we have many years experience helping businesses, individuals and emergency services ensure their vehicles are safe and visible during night and day. In fact, as members of The Retroreflective Equipment Manufacturers Association, we have helped to create guidance documents for  further understanding of requirements and compliance.

Alongside commercial vehicle livery services, road sign reflective materials and other traffic products, we provide a range of high quality, durable and compliant retroreflective vehicle safety markings including:

  • ECE 104 Contour Tape – We offer solid construction conspicuity tape approved to ECE 104 Type C in line with Regulation 48 made to be durable and long-lasting.
  • Emergency Vehicle Reflectives – For emergency vehicles we have a range of industry leading highly durable reflective vinyl to keep vehicles visible. Available in white, blue, red, green and fluorescent options.
  • Chapter 8 Reflective Chevrons – Products for higher speed roads, choose from our range of reflective products in various grades to suit a variety of vehicle requirements, from entry level engineering grade to high grade micro-prismatic products approved to R2 and R3B.
  • Safety at Street Works – Products for use on lower speed roads, we offer the full range of products spanning all reflectivity grades.

View all our vehicle safety products >

Learn More with Lakeside Group

Our team of experts provide high quality reflective products that meet compliance standards for a variety of vehicles and applications. Whether your business needs help becoming Chapter 8 compliant, want custom vehicle graphics for on the road branding or want to find out more about the products we offer, get in touch!

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