Road accidents continue to injure and kill far too many people every year. In the effort to reduce these casualties, attention continues to be paid on ways to improve road safety design and make accidents less likely to happen.

It just makes sense that individuals and companies would consider how advances in technology can be harnessed in this regard. One of the areas where these advances are being applied is with respect to road studs. These devices serve a number of important purposes on a nation’s roads. They help to clarify where the edge of the road is, as well as the centre line. This helps drivers to remain in correct position, even whilst driving fast.

The problem is that the previous design of road studs, such as cat’s eyes, made use of reflective material in order to achieve visibility. In an ideal situation, a vehicle’s headlights would hit the cat’s eye, light would bounce off, and the driver would see the stud and react accordingly.

The Promise Of Solar Road Studs

However, there are many situations when this ideal scenario does not work out as planned. For example, when it is raining hard or when snow is falling heavily, the cat’s eyes will tend to be less visible. These studs will also be less visible if there is a problem with a vehicle’s headlights.

In addition, even when these road studs can be seen, the distance before they become visible can still be relatively short. This gives drivers less time to react to the studs. The unfortunate reality is that a reflective surface can only provide a limited amount of visibility.

This is why efforts were made to come up with studs that contain their own illumination, and this research resulted in various solar designs. The thing that these studs have in common is that they contain LED lighting as well as a solar panel and energy storage technology.

These solar road studs allow for power to be collected during the day, which can then be used to illuminate the studs at night. The studs generally contain a sensor, which ensures that the LEDs remain off during the day and only come on in the evening. The LEDs in these studs have been found to be around ten times more visible compared to traditional cat’s eye reflectors. This is a huge leap in terms of visibility, and it will mean that drivers will have more time to see and react to the studs.

This could result in more predictable lane driving patterns, less potential swerving, and safer roads in general. Since these solar road studs remain visible even in inclement weather, they will help to make winter or thunderstorm driving safer. If these studs see wider use on a nation’s roads, this could help to reduce accidents, injuries and fatalities.

The primary issue with the more advanced form of road studs however is the cost. Although solar stud technology is more efficient in the long term as they are less likely to need replacing, they are more expensive to install in the short term. Other road stud types like click studs are inexpensive and easier to install.

But what price can you put on road safety and the safe commuting of the millions who use our roadways each day?

Article courtesy of Ennis-Flint, the world leaders in road traffic safety solutions.