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How Glass Beads Improve the Road Safety

Road markings play an important role in road safety and in optimizing the use of road space. They help provide information that cannot be easily conveyed using mounted signs. In addition, signs affixed directly to the road surface provide a continuous form of information delivery that can be observed when edge-mounted signs are concealed.

The effectiveness of road marking glass beads in improving the safety of road users depends on the clear visibility of the markings. This becomes particularly important when there is insufficient light, such as in fog, rain or at night.


Improving the visibility of road markings

Recent collaborative European studies have determined that the minimum distance a driver can see a road marker must equal two seconds of travel time. There are several factors that determine the visibility distance of road markings.

They are mostly driver-related, such as driver vision, headlight intensity, car cleanliness, or unavoidable, such as rain or glare from oncoming traffic. However, the composition of road markings can be designed to optimize their visibility under various conditions. For example, the use of titanium dioxide pigments can maintain the vibrant color of road markings, and the addition of crystalline titanium dioxide can prevent dirt buildup on the markings. This dirt buildup on the markings may reduce their visibility.


Anti-Water All Weather Glass Beads

Most of the light from the headlights hits the road and is either reflected forward or absorbed by the road itself, with only a small portion of the light reflecting back to the driver's eyes. Reflection refers to the reflection of light in the direction of the light source. As the brightness factor of the retroreflection increases, the contrast between the road surface and the road markings also increases. As more light is reflected back from the road markings to the driver's headlights, the visibility of the road markings will increase, especially during inclement weather and at night.

It is important that the beads are embedded in at least 50% of their diameter to ensure that they do not displace. However, the retroreflectivity decreases as the degree of microbead embedding increases; therefore, it is necessary to achieve an effective balance. It is expected that some beads will be covered with marking material, but will soon be removed by passing vehicles.

Additives such as titanium dioxide do not produce retroreflectivity to enhance the luminescence of road markers. Instead, retroreflection is increased by the addition of glass beads, thereby improving the nighttime visibility of the road markers. The headlight beam enters the glass beads, hits the colored road markings and reflects back to the motorist. The result is that the road markings appear to brighten and therefore the visibility of the road markings is significantly improved. Road markings containing high performance glass beads were five times brighter than those without.


Tenroads is a global leader in high quality precision glass technology, producing glass spheres for a variety of applications. We offer high quality glass that can be customized to meet the specific requirements of a project. The company produces glass beads suitable for increasing the visibility of road markings to exacting specifications to ensure optimal reflectivity.

Road markings are an essential safety feature. If you need to increase the safety of your roads, contact us for a product quote and we offer quality pricing.

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