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3M Roadway Safety

Safety Initiatives & Funding

Fluorescent technology: A noticeable difference

In addition to great retroreflective performance for nighttime brightness, 3M’s fluorescent sheetings provide superior daytime visibility. Signs and work zone devices made with fluorescent sheeting are highly distinguishable from those made with non-fluorescent materials, especially at dawn and dusk, and during inclement weather. Research shows that fluorescent signs and devices are recognized at greater distances and with an accurate perception of color. Fluorescent materials provide increased daytime brightness and color saturation, resulting in an added ability to attract attention and generate a higher signal value for the visual system. Here’s how it works.

Daylight comes in two wavelengths—short and long. Short wavelength light is absorbed by most surfaces, including non-fluorescent traffic signs. When fluorescence is added, short wavelength light is converted to longer wavelength visible light which is then reemitted, resulting in the visual “pop” that comes from fluorescent yellow, fluorescent yellow-green and fluorescent orange signs and devices.

Why specify fluorescent sheeting for certain series of traffic signs and work zone devices? The added luminance and attention-getting visibility of fluorescent materials, coupled with high-performance prismatic retroreflective technology, helps provide unambiguous, positive guidance during the day, at night and in suboptimal driving conditions, thus reducing the potential for incidents and accidents.