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Old 11-16-2008, 05:35 PM   #1
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Reflective Safety: Conspicuity Tape

From "catsandI" latest misfortune there arose the question of using the sort of reflective tape seen on commercial trailers; known as conspicuity tape.

CONSPICUITY: The characteristics of signage which enable observers to differentiate the sign from its surrounding environment.

I've also considered it (while re-doing all the marker lights in a conversion, to, hallelujah, l.e.d. units), but the stuff is not cheap. And, it definitely changes the look of the unit.

3M Reflective Tape (Conspicuity)
3M Reflective Tape

One can purchase sections of this material, but, as it is designed to reflect light prismatically, each piece winds up being more expensive than if bought as a kit or a roll. A couple two three pieces along a thirty foot trailer is not enough, one needs to maintain spacing as per regulation (engineered standard) for true "visibility".

Be aware that US D.O.T. has regulations of how, where, etc, of the manner in which it must be applied, and these guidelines may be of use; red/white along the lower edges of the trailer and tractor, and white only along the upper edges.

The ruling takes effect on June 1, 1999, stating that commercial trailers without conspicuity material treatment need to install red, white, or silver tape to meet FMVSS-108 standards by June 1, 2001. Commercial trailers with material installed in colors other than red, white, or silver must retrofit to the correct color tape by June 1, 2009. The conspicuity material may either consist of reflective tape or reflex reflectors conforming to FMVSS-108 standards, and apply to trailers 80 inches or more in length, and with a GVWR of 10,001 pounds.

The technically-minded can whip out their goniophotometers to verify the proper coefficient of luminosity of these tapes and reflectors.

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Old 11-16-2008, 07:30 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by REDNAX View Post
…whip out their goniophotometers to verify the proper coefficient of luminosity of these tapes and reflectors.
I do believe that your pharmacist can provide a medication to take care of all that.

But seriously, if there's a "group buy" brewing to purchase a bulk of this stuff, I'd spend some money on it to make my 'stream more visible.


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Old 11-16-2008, 07:41 PM   #3
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3M makes a product called SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea) that is retro-reflective and comes in several colors including silver. It's not daylight conspicuous, so it is not unsightly. We use it on our motorcycles for night time visibility. It is incredilby bright when automobile headlights, or streetlights reflect off of it. It looks like a high powered reflector.

It comes in a stick-on and sew-on versions.

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Old 11-16-2008, 07:45 PM   #4
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I grieved passing up a two roll 24 foot bulk pack of 3M Conspicuity Reflective Tape found in a close-out bin in a rural Missouri farm supply house for $12 even before I clicked the 3m link.
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Old 11-17-2008, 12:40 AM   #5
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Safe, maybe. Ugly, definitely. No way that horrid candy cane reflective tape in going on my beloved Airstream. I've considered covering the blue rub strips along the trailer's belt line with reflective blue vinyl from a sign shop. Serves the same purpose but nowhere near as gaudy looking. During the day it wouldn't even be noticeable. Only downfall is the fact that it's not a super durable material, will eventually fade and it's a nightmare to get off once the sun has done its damage.
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Old 11-17-2008, 03:18 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by REDNAX View Post
From "catsandI" latest misfortune there arose the question of using the sort of reflective tape seen on commercial trailers; known as conspicuity tape.

I am all for increasing visibility, but somehow I suspect in Michelle's case it would not have made much of a difference. I own and drive a very large RED crew cab dually pickup and have had a person plow into the rear of it at a stop light...they didn't see it If a driver is sufficiently distracted nothing is going to help. I read reports quite often of people plowing into rail cars on unguarded siding, hitting parked cars, etc, etc.

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Old 11-17-2008, 06:35 AM   #7
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I bought two rolls of the 3M stuff from a garage sale a couple of years ago and have sold it at our local rallies for $.25 per foot. Four feet per side and back do a great job for $3.00.
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Old 11-17-2008, 06:56 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by REDNAX View Post
From "catsandI" latest misfortune there arose the question of using the sort of reflective tape seen on commercial trailers; known as conspicuity tape.
If I were a trucker which would involve driving regularly at night and in lousy weather I would tape. I seldom drive at night and avoid bad weather when ever I can.

If someone can't see an Airstream in broad daylight I doubt a little tape would help.
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Old 11-17-2008, 07:37 AM   #9
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For those of you that are opposed to the red/white or red/silver reflectors ruining the appearance, consider placing them on the axle. They are nearly impossible to see unless they are illuminated by headlights from the rear. Additionally, the area on the underside of the rear bumper would work, as well.

The side views can be done the same way w/ pieces attached to lower hanging frame parts, spring shackles, coupler, etc.

The best way for the blue striped crowd is reflective blue material easily obtainable from the area sign shops. Few of these shops are old timers that actually "paint" the signs but have new fangled computer generated signs that are produced on rolls of tape sometimes 48" wide. Many police agencies use the reflective tape for their logo, 911 info, and other things. Look for the blue if you like or several shades of silver that would not be too obtrusive.

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