All About Road Reflectors

Road reflectors are used to control traffic and encourage safe driving conditions. They are made from ceramic, plastic, and sometimes metal. They are also known as traffic delineators, raised pavement markers, road markers, cat’s eyes, road studs, and Botts’ dots. Botts’ dots refers to round dots, usually 4″-6″, that do not have reflective lenses on them. Some types of road markers have a reflective lens that reflects the light from vehicle headlights.

Raised pavement markers are used for a variety of purposes, and are especially important for making traffic lanes visible to drivers at night. The usage depends on the color, and colors have different meanings depending on the country.

Color Meanings in North America

  • Yellow/Amber: Used to mark the double lane in the center of roads with two way direction traffic. Also used to mark the left edge on one way streets.
  • White: Marks the right edge of the street or general lane divisions.
  • Blue: Marks fire hydrants.
  • Red: Used for restrictive markings such as “do not enter”.

Installation Recommendations

Road reflectors can be installed by different methods depending on the level of traffic and type of climate. For temporary applications or areas with low to medium volume traffic, the easiest way to install is with a self adhesive butyl pad. For areas with more traffic or for a more permanent application, epoxy or bituminous adhesive is a better way to adhere the reflector to the asphalt. For regions with significant snowfall, there are reflectors that are specially designed to be used on roads frequented by snowplows. One of the best ways to install raised pavement markers is with a thermoplastic adhesive.

Other Uses

Road markers can be installed in specific patterns to create various traffic control solutions. When ceramic road reflectors are placed close together in rows, spanning the width of a road, they can form a traffic calming rumble strip. When assembled in the shape of a diamond, road reflectors can be used to designate a HOV (high occupancy vehicle) lane. Pedestrian crossing zones are also sometimes created with reflectors.