How Reflective Clothing Can Save Your Life

August 17 2018

Did you know that your odds of being struck by a vehicle as a pedestrian, jogger, or biker increase dramatically at certain times of day? In fact, 75 percent of accidents that kill pedestrians happen at dawn, dusk, or nighttime. This statistic underlines the importance of wearing the right reflective clothing.

When drivers have trouble seeing you, it places you at far greater risk of injury or even death. Read on to learn about how reflective clothes can save you from becoming a statistic.

Bright Clothes vs. Reflective Gear

Whether you're a cyclist, pedestrian, or jogger, the right kind of safety clothing can spell the difference between being seen and tragedy. When you wear reflective gear, you avoid appearing "invisible" to drivers, especially at low light periods of the day and night. In fact, you remain four times more likely of being hit by a vehicle at nighttime.

That said, daytime accidents happen, too, especially in areas with poor visibility such as tunnels. Whether it's a safety reflective shirt, light reflective jacket, or other reflective clothes, an investment in a safety wardrobe will bring you peace of mind and added protection.

While some pedestrians, joggers, and bikers opt for brightly colored clothing alone, these vivid-hued clothes perform best when coupled with reflective materials. They prove easier for drivers' eyes to distinguish, day and night.

What the Research Says

This may surprise you. Bright colors alone prove ineffective at night.

Why? It has to do with basic physics.

According to Cycling Weekly, "Fluorescent colors work by covering UV light in sunlight to something we can see so they're bright in daylight, but street lights and headlights don't give off much UV light, so it makes little difference in darker conditions." But that doesn't mean you should throw out your neon clothes just yet...

Fluorescent colors work well during daylight, and reflective strips on those same clothes produce results at night. So, accessorizing your bright ensembles with reflective tape offers the greatest benefits.

In a 2010 study by the Journal of Australasian College of Road Safety, they found that cyclists wearing black clothes were only seen by drivers in two percent of cases. Drivers recognized cyclists wearing reflective vests in 15 percent of cases. But they registered cyclists wearing a reflective vest and knee and ankle reflectors 90 percent of the time.

When seconds count, making the right choice of clothing can mean the difference between a close call and a serious accident. When reflective clothes get combined with reflective tape on arms and legs, drivers have the best chance of spotting pedestrians and bikers before a collision.

Remember, not only do driver's need to "spot" you, but they also need to instantly recognize that you're a human form rather just some random shiny spot. By adding the reflective tape to the four moving parts of your body, you give their eyes the best chance of recognizing you instantaneously.

How Reflective Clothing Works

Reflective garments are known as high-visibility or HV clothing. They've been used by industries like construction for years. In fact, you may be most familiar with the HV vests worn by construction workers on job sites.

These vests are also used for added protection by:

  • street work crews
  • survey parties
  • street flaggers
  • school crossing guards
  • firefighters
  • and more

But the usefulness of these vests shouldn't stop with these individuals. HV vests and other gear help bicyclists, pedestrians, and joggers stay safe on the road.

It makes the wearer more visible. And it also provides the wearer with a heightened sense of awareness. These are crucial elements while you're exercising (and trying to stay alive) on roadways.

In order to ensure that you get the most effective safety gear for your activities, start with a reputable company. From vests to hats to sleeveless t-shirts, excellent products known for versatility and safety exist. Once you've found what you're looking for, pile them on to help drivers see you from a safe distance.

Additional Ways to Appear Reflective

More and more vehicles hit the road each year, and traffic happens 24/7. So, it's important that cyclists, pedestrians, and joggers take every possible precaution before heading out. But what if you're just not a fan of changing into reflective garments?

You have additional options. Some people prefer to wear reflective accessories. These go on their wrists and/or ankles providing an extra cautionary shine to passing drivers.

Since bikers use their arms to indicate directions, wrist accessories prove particularly effective when poor visibility risks safety. Bikers may also wish to invest in reflective items for their hands to ensure drivers can see their direction indications.

Why You Need Reflective Safety Gear

Whether you're heading out for a stroll, run, or bike ride, safety should always come first. It's easy to assume that you'll be able to get out of the way should an impending collision loom. But you're both underestimating how fast a vehicle can go AND overestimating your ability to react quickly enough.

Instead, opt for brightly colored clothing, a vest made from HV material, and reflective strips on your arms and legs. This may sound like overkill, but it's not. It could save your life.

Drivers travel at such high speeds that they often have only seconds to react. The sooner their brain lets them know that they're staring at a moving human form, the faster they can react to avoid a collision.

Reflective Clothing Works

Maybe you're not a huge fan of wearing reflective gear, but the bottom line is this. It works. You may not appreciate the fashion statement you're making, but at least you'll be alive to make it.

In a contest between a car and a human being, the car always wins. Wear safety gear featuring bright colors (for daytime) and reflective HV material and accessories (for nighttime). That way, you can avoid getting into that contest in the first place.

Interested in learning more about reflective clothing or other outdoor gear for your next activity? At Imperial Motion, we specialize in adventure, and we're always evolving. When it comes to reflective clothes that look good and keep you visible, we've got you covered.

How Reflective Clothing Can Save Your Life