When planning the purchase of glass beads for your road marking projects, one of the big questions is how many to buy. And the determining factor is where and when you’ll be using them. Because glass beads are used in conjunction with road paint, you can use line thicknesses and lengths to help calculate how many you need, but you’ll still need to determine which areas will include the beads. Here are four situations that require the additional reflectivity and visibility that glass beads have to offer.
1. Night driving
Glass beads lend a reflective power called retroreflection that makes it much easier for drivers to see the road at night. This is especially true when the road is not otherwise well-lit. In a busy city, streetlights may combine with headlights to form a higher visibility situation. However, on country roads and in rural areas, the car’s headlights may not provide enough visibility to keep a driver safe. This is especially a concern on winding roads with relatively high speed limits. Retroreflection, provided by the beads, reflects more light back at the driver so that the driver can see markings better and at a greater distance. In this way, glass beads help improve sight lines and driving confidence at night.
2. Wet roads or low visibility
When the road is wet, it tends to reflect not only headlights but also streetlights and traffic lights across its whole surface. This can thoroughly disorient a driver. The sun is often invisible during a storm as well, and heavy cloud cover may combine with blinding rain in an attempt to turn day into night. Retroreflection in this situation can help road markings stand out from the other reflections on the road. This focused reflection also helps break through the haze of fog and rain (or sleet or snow) that a driver may be struggling through.
3. Hazardous conditions
Any areas where elevated hazard levels exist, whether because of pedestrian crossings, school zones, or other factors, require more traffic markings and higher visibility. Identify areas that have these types of hazards nearby and areas that have historically seen frequent motor vehicle accidents. Adding glass beads in these situations is a necessary precaution that can help reduce the likelihood of accidents and improve overall safety.
4. Budget constraints
Using glass beads with your road markings is actually more expensive up front, so you may be wondering why budget constraints would be an argument in favor of this expense. It’s because the beads lend not only retroreflectivity but also durability to your road paint. They can make your paint last up to four times as long, meaning that you’ll save money on future re-striping.
These four points provide guidelines to where you should use glass beads in road markings. Use them to help you analyze the needs of the area you’re re-striping. Consider the project area carefully and ask yourself if it’s a hazardous area or if it has a history of accidents, limited night lighting, or limited visibility in storms. Then consider the money you can save by using glass beads as you make your final decision. For more information on glass beads and other road markings, contact Centerline today. 800-321-1751.