Why do we need high intensity retroreflective traffic signs?

The Federal Highway Safety Administration has identified a correlation between traffic accidents and older drivers. Part of the problem is caused be their inability to properly see traffic signs at night. The older engineering grade sheeting material, along with faded and damaged signs, doesn’t reflect back bright enough for them to see the sign properly.

Why do we need high intensity retroreflective traffic signs?In 2015 there were over 40 million drivers over the age of 65 on the road, and those numbers continue to increase every year. It is estimated that over 90% of this demographic still travel by personal vehicle. So ensuring their safety, and the safety of others is a high priority.

One of the solutions identified by the Federal Highway Safety Administration is to ensure signs are being upgraded to high intensity retroreflective sheeting material. Upgrading poorly maintained or degraded signs can reduce and avoid traffic accidents and injuries.

Using the proper sheeting material will allow the vehicles headlights to properly reflect back to the drivers eyes, allowing them to see the sign. When faded or damaged the reflection doesn’t reflect back correctly and makes it harder, or even impossible to read the sign, which can lead to an accident.

It is estimated that night time fatalities due to traffic accidents are around three times higher than day time accidents. So it is extremely important to make sure that signs are up to date with the proper sheeting material, making them more visible to all drivers. It is the responsibility of public agencies to make sure they are compliant with the minimum reflectivity requirements as outlined by the Federal Highway Safety Administration.

Having a comprehensive and up to date traffic sign inventory can help identify outdated, faded, or damaged signs. This gives you to tool needed to budget and maintain traffic signs, as well as a defense in tort liability claims associated with traffic signs and accidents in your jurisdiction. Properly maintaining your signs should be a high priority, and using the proper tools is the first step in compliance with the Federal Highway Safety Administration guidelines.

Contact Mid-West GIS to learn more about our traffic sign inventory services