Reflective Tape. Everyone knows where it’s used right? I’ll be honest, until I started working with it, I had absolutely no idea how many pieces I’d see of reflective tape each day. It’s a little strange since it’s whole job is not to fade into the background but, like most things that do their job well, you kind of take it for granted.
In this post, I’m going to explore several uses I’ve either found, seen or heard about for Reflective Tape. This list is more focused on uses for reflective around the home, in the office or out and about and less on industrial uses like road safety signs, work gear and vehicle marking and identification as those are all fairly well known at this stage.
The below is by no means exhaustive but hopefully it proves a little useful in inspiring you to come up with your own ideas. As always if you do come up with a particularly interesting use, we’d love to hear about it.
- Sewn To Clothing
For those of you looking to increase your visibility when exercising at night or working in areas with passing traffic, a little reflective tape sewn to the outside of jackets or shirts can be a huge help.
Though you can use our reflective tapes for this, they’re not designed for it so we don’t recommend it. You can buy reflective fabric that doesn’t have the adhesive and is a little more flexible. This may be a better option for sewing to clothes.
Vehicles and Trailers
One of the more common uses for reflective tape is on the sides and backs of vehicles, rolling stock or trailers. While most of these already have reflectors, many companies and people see benefits in increasing their visibility by adding more. This can be of real benefit if the vehicle or trailer is parked in a partially obscured spot or high traffic area at night or in low light conditions.
Highlighting Objects On The Edge Of Driveways
Something I’m sure will strike a chord with anyone who has to repeatedly back out of a curved, sloped or complex driveway; object on the edge can be a real hazard. Especially things with a narrow profile (like handrails) as these can be hard to spot in your rear-view mirror and parking sensors don’t always pick them up.
If your driveway has things like this on its edges, it could well be worth placing a little reflective tape on them to increase their visibility at night. Of course you’ll never need them but it could make life a little easier and save some serious embarrassment next time you have people around for a barbeque.
Bikes and Motorcycles
Most come with some reflectors. But in our experience a few extras can’t hurt. Just be sure that you affix the reflective tape so that you are not obscuring or obstructing any critical component. Every states regulations are slightly different on this point so it may well be worth checking first.
If your letterbox sits particularly close to your driveway, or is in an area where it may be obscured by surrounding gardens, a little reflective tape placed at strategic points can significantly increase its visibility. This can be particularly useful in raising its profile for visitors who may park in your driveway, then have to reverse out after sunset.
If you’re planning on riding at night, a couple of reflective spots on your helmet can significantly increase your visibility.
Boats and Ships
Reflective tape on the topside, sizes and underside of your craft can make a big difference to visibility and safety. Obvious placement points include out-jutting parts and on protruding edges (though low doorways may also be worth thinking about as per point ???). One area you may not have thought of is the underside of the boat. If the worst does happen and the craft is overturned, an aerial search will be easier if there’s some reflective tape in place to help catch searchers attention. This is particularly pertinent for life rafts and smaller vessels.
Many come with reflective strips already attached but like my point about bikes, depending on the make it could be worth augmenting this with a few strategically placed extras.
Sewn To Children's Bags
Especially if they’re walking to or from school in winter, a little reflective can increase visibility to cars and other vehicles. You won’t need much for this to work, just a few small squares or a single strategically placed strip should have the desired effect.
One tip with this, ensure you choose a Reflective Tape that contrasts in colour with the bag. I.e. White Tape for a red bag is better than red on red.
Bollards and Posts
This is one of the most common uses for Reflective Tape already so I won’t spend a lot of time covering it. Especially when they are installed in low light areas (like underground car parks), increasing the visibility of bollards, safety rails, support posts and pillars by placing some reflective tape on/around them can make a lot of safety sense.
Ledges and Steps
Highlighting sudden drops or rises on the ground is a great use for reflective tape. A narrow strip on the edge of a step can significantly raise awareness and help prevent tripping or the potential for falls.
In these applications, it is very important to ensure that the tape is applied smoothly without any bumps or raised edges. Choosing a tape with a strong adhesive will help with this. You should also prioritise abrasion resistance. No matter if you choose to place the tape on the flat or vertical part of the step, it will see some abrasion from people walking on it, so a tape with higher abrasion resistance will last longer.
Low Hanging Objects
Whether at home or in the workplace, a little reflective tape can go a long way in increasing the visibility of low doorways, objects and clearances. These can include entryways to garden sheds, garage doors that are sometimes kept at half height or pipes that run across walkways.
At home, this can help avoid head injuries or accidents. In the workplace, this can be especially important if a forklift is operating. Garage doors are a definite hazard if they are kept half-way down (say, to stop rain blowing in) and a forklift operator is used to having full clearance when passing through. In such situations, anything you can do to increase awareness and visibility of the potential hazard may well prove worthwhile.
Witches Hats / Safety Cones
Safety cones, witches hats, traffic cones; there’s a few different names for them and even more styles available. Most are made in highly visible colours and many already come with retro-reflective sheeting applied, but not all.
For those styles that do not come with the reflective already in place (or if the original reflective has worn away) replacement is easy. A band of reflective tape wrapped around the cone towards the top will significantly increase the visibility and therefore the effectiveness of the safety cone. Generally speaking, we’d suggest choosing a reflective tape that contrasts in colour with the cone but this choice is, of course, up to you.
Reflective Tape can be a highly effective and highly visible way of marking out either safety areas or hazards in factories or warehouses. Clearance zones around high voltage equipment, underneath drop hazards and delineating emergency exit paths are just three potential applications.
Just to be clear, I’m not suggesting using reflective tape to mark out all general laneways in a warehouse. Chances are, it’d be overkill for this task and a far more expensive option than something like our 3M 471 Vinyl Lane Marking Tape. But for highly critical areas, or when used in conjunction with a vinyl tape to attract added attention, reflective tape can be very useful.
As you can see from the above list, there’s an awful lot of potential uses for reflective tape in addition to the usual applications like road safety signs, work gear and vehicle marking and identification. There’s no way we could list every single potential use as, to be brutally honest, we don’t know them all. If you do know of a good application for reflective tape, sheeting, strip or pieces that we’ve left off our list please let us know in the comments. We’d love to hear about them.
In the meantime, if you are looking for a reflective tape, you can learn more about our range here.