Pedestrian visibility quadrupled by use of reflective vest

Pedestrian visibility quadrupled by use of reflective vest  
Filed under:
on 10/03/2007

Source: Auto Express and Comma

Motorists at the side of the road can be seen from up to four times as far if they are wearing a high-visibility vest, new research has found. The study, conducted by motoring magazine Auto Express and car care specialist, Comma, was carried out as part of Comma’s campaign at to lower the 250 deaths and serious injuries that happen on the hard shoulders of the UK’s motorways each year.

For the night-time research, a pedestrian was ‘planted’ on four different types of road, with varying traffic speeds and street lighting, while a driver passed by, recording when they spotted the pedestrian with and without a high-vis vest.

At 40mph on an unlit, rural road, the driver will see someone at the side of the road just 3 seconds before reaching them. Wearing reflective gear, the reaction time tripled to 11 seconds, while the distance travelled was nearly quadrupled.

On a faster route, meanwhile, at 65mph the driver only saw the marker 2 seconds before passing him without a reflective vest. With it, the viewing distance was again quadrupled. Further tests yielded similar results.

Auto Express news and features editor Mat Watson said: “Most drivers wouldn’t consider carrying a high-vis vest in their car, incorrectly assuming they they will be perfectly visible to passing motorists without one. The shocking results of our study prove just how wrong this is. Hopefully it will help change people’s minds and encourage more to carry a high-vis vest in their car as doing so will help boost safety on our roads.”

The research adds weight to Comma’s petition to make it compulsory for motorists to carry a high-vis vest in their car at all times. A law to make the vests a mandatory boot item would bring UK legislation into line with several other countries in Europe, such as Italy, Croatia and Belgium, where it is already law.

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