How do I determine the best retroreflective sheeting for my signs?
Many SafetySign.com traffic signs, parking signs, and safety signs have the option of reflective aluminum as a sign material. Reflective aluminum, like coated aluminum, will not chip, crack, or rust, and also adds increased visibility at night and in low light situations.
Retroreflectivity describes the efficiency of a material to redirect light back to its source, which when applied to signs, makes seeing the message easier. All regulatory traffic, traffic warning, guide signs, and object markers are required by the Federal Highway Administration to be retroreflective.
With the benefit of increased visibility, it’s good to know about the different types of retroreflective sheeting that SafetySign.com offers on our signs before selecting one for your needs.
There are three types of retroreflective sheeting that SafetySign.com uses: engineering grade, high intensity prismatic, and diamond grade. Each type of sheeting provides a different level of reflectivity and durability.
Engineering grade retroreflective sheeting is the standard sheeting that you might find on property and parking signs. Engineering grade, or EG, sheeting can be seen from about 500 feet away.
High intensity prismatic retroreflective sheeting (HIP sheeting), is commonly used on official traffic signs, just like the ones in your own neighborhood. HIP sheeting offers three times the reflectivity that EG does, and can be seen from about 1000 feet away.
The most reflective sheeting is diamond grade retroreflective. Diamond grade sheeting is the best choice for roadways, as it offers the highest visibility from the furthest distances. Diamond grade retroreflective sheeting also lasts the longest, making it the best investment long-term.
Signs with diamond grade sheeting can generally be seen from as far as 1500 feet away and are 10 times as bright as standard EG sheeting. Diamond grade sheeting’s high visibility makes it a great fit for potentially hazardous intersections, high traffic areas, and large signs that need to be seen from a distance.
Below is a simple chart that shows the benefits of each type of retroreflective sheeting:
|ATSM D4956 Type||Brightness||Visibility at Night||Ideal Uses|
|Engineering Grade||Type I||1x||500ft||parking lots and private drives|
|High Intensity Prismatic||Type IV||3x||1000ft||low traffic roadways|
|Diamond Grade||Type IX||10x||1500ft||moderate to heavy traffic roadways|
For more information about identifying retroreflective sheeting, visit the Federal Highway Administration’s guide on traffic sign retroreflective sheeting.
For more about sheeting designations and minimum maintained retroreflectivity levels, see this section of the Federal Highway Administration’s Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices.
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