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Why is yellow the best Hi Viz colour at this time of year?

Best Hi Viz Colour for Autumn

This week our guest blogger is Nicky Fletcher MA, Managing Director of Equisafety. Read her blog about one of the most frequently asked questions of the team at Equisafety: what colour Hi Vis should be worn during winter weather conditions? Read on to find out the answer along with the actual science behind it...

Many people are now returning to work, meaning they have to ride in the early morning or late afternoon. At dawn and dusk, everything looks bluer, trust us.

It’s all to do with the eyes rod cells, red, green, and blue cones, UV light and wavelengths, but that’s another blog for another time.

Yellow is the best colour to wear during these times of day, at this time of year. The reason why is because the colour yellow hits the retina at just the right point and as such is easily processed, ensuring you are visible. Yellow has been proven to be the most conspicuous colour in dull winter light, and as it is the first colour the human eye notices as it hits the retina at just the right point and is easily processed ensuring you are visible.  

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Fluorescence is the spectacle in which light energy, which is normally invisible, is made visible. This is done by converting short wavelengths into longer wavelengths. This ceases almost immediately when the light energy stops. Fluorescent colours are two to four times brighter than other colours due to this phenomenon. They are also more visible during low light, dusk, dawn, fog, and snow.

Contrast for Detection

Detection can be achieved by using a fluorescent colour against a contrasting background. Contrast may also be achieved by combining “high contrast” colours in one garment. For instance, using black and fluorescent yellow in high visibility PPE creates a sharp contrast that may be more noticeable in competing back grounds. Equisafety always puts a contrast colour against its high-vis colour to ensure the rider stands out even more. Yellow is predominately used to get attention, such as a yellow sign with black text, or as an accent.

Human eyes are built to be most sensitive to that wavelength of light (~550 nanometres), at least during the day. But when the sun begins to set and light starts to dwindle, your perception of colour starts to change. So, be conspicuous at all time - consider where you are, what you’re doing and the weather conditions when choosing your jacket colour.

Those few seconds that the fluorescent material gives to the driver to enable them to brake or swerve might mean the difference between life or death, or at least serious injury, for you and/or your horse. Fluorescent colours, plus accents of reflective fabric, are vital for times like sunrise and dusk when the light conditions are changing rapidly, and the visibility will be off.

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Author

Kim Horton

Co-Founder of EQUUS and a keen equestrian, when Kim's not at her desk she's with her horse, Waldo.

Comments

  • Sarah posted on October 23 2020 at 02:10 PM

    My horse and I always wear orange equisafety hi viz all the year round. Numerous drivers, joggers and cyclists have commented to me how visible we are which gives them a chance to slow down in good time. As an older rider it makes me feel much more confident when out hacking along small country lanes.

  • Caroline W posted on October 23 2020 at 02:10 PM

    Yellow is great, especially in these month. However, recent studies have shown that because we see it everywhere now, our brains have started to ignore it more. Pink is actually registered better, especially as we don’t see it so often. The outcome was that if you can, mix and match pink/yellow/orange and you’ll really stand out!

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