Knowing what to look for in reflective safety apparel will make a difference in just how effective this type of clothing will be in making you more visible in low light situations or environments. In some instances the reflective or high visibility clothing are placed over existing clothing. For this reason they should be bulky in order to not restrict the wearer’s movement. Another important general factor is that the larger the area of your body that is covered by this reflective safety apparel, the greater possibility that you will stand out from the surrounding environment.
When choosing this type of safety clothing you should also know the difference between high visibility clothing and reflective clothing. They are not the same. High visibility clothing makes use of florescent colors and strips to make the wearer stand out against their background environment. Florescent colors glow when a light source hit it like the sun. This is a passive type of safety clothing.
Reflective clothing is also passive but reacts differently to a light source. Either in or on the cloth material are glass beads or prisms. They are so small you will not see them with the naked eye, but they are present. This is a category of high visibility clothing called retro-reflective. It actually reflects the light source that hits it back to the original source. This is how a driver will see a person wearing this material because the light from their headlights will be shining back at them. One of the trademark names for this type of safety apparel is illumiNITE. If you see this on the tag of the clothing you are looking it, while it is passive, it is still more protection than just a florescent color garment.
It has micro glass beads woven into the material that makes it reflective.
When looking at the different types and styles of reflective safety apparel, the more the areas of the clothing article that is covered with the reflective material the better. A 360 degree coverage is best. This way no matter what direction the light source is coming at you, your clothing will be seen by the driver.
If you desire the use of the micro prism as the reflective source from your clothing, then look for material that has stripes that appear to be like stickers or decals with a shinny or plastic covering. They resemble the reflective tape that can be seen on many vehicles that are also being used as a safety device.
One of the most important factors some people forget is that the reflective safety apparel must not be covered up by a jacket or other item of clothing for it to be effective. If you are a jogger or cyclist, wear thermal underwear instead of a jacket. This way the retro-reflective material will be exposed to the outside environment. If this safety clothing is covered up, it has no effect and will not function as designed. The wearer will then not benefit from using it.
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