In the past, roads didn’t have markings, but in the interests of safety, more and more roads now have painted lines and some form of raised pavement markers. You might know them as cat’s eyes or road studs – they’re what you see reflected back at you when you’re driving down the road at night. How do you mark a grey stretch of tarmac so that drivers can see which way it goes both in daytime and night-time?

Colours and Uses

They come in four colours:

  • White – these augment lane lines
  • Yellow – these augment the dividing lines (separating opposing traffic), the right-hand edge lines of one-way carriageways, the outline or traffic islands and painted medians
  • Red – these augment the left-hand edge lines
  • Blue – these mark the position of fire hydrants or access to municipal water supply and are installed by local councils.


Types of pavement markers

Non-reflective raised marker (NRPMs)

The glazed surface is resistant to scratching and tyre marks and they are useful for showing vehicles lane markings during the day but not at night.  These are being phased out because they create a hazard if dislodged. They’re being replaced by paint.

Retro-reflective raised pavement markers (sometimes called cat’s eyes or road studs)

These RRPMs reflect light back at you as you drive down the road. They can be reflective on one or both sides (i.e. on a motorway it’s pointless to have it reflective both sides, but for a centre line marker it’s important to have them reflective both sides.

The marker contains glass spheres or corner cubes and is housed in an acrylic or plastic shell which is durable. The base is flat and they are stuck to the road using a hot melt adhesive.

They’re used to supplement road lines (pavement markings) and they are particularly helpful when it’s wet or foggy.

There are also illuminated raised pavement markers (IRPMs) which have their own light source, but they are expensive to install and maintain and they’re only really useful in places where street lighting isn’t effective, or to make drivers aware of a particularly difficult or dangerous area.


Temporary raised pavement markers (TRPMs)

Temporary raised pavement markers are installed when resurfacing work is done and they provide delineation of the road until road lines or pavement markings can be painted on the new surface.

They are made of traffic-bearing, high-impact plastic so that they don’t snap off, and you will see them in white or yellow to mark either the lane line or the dividing line, respectively. They are designed to last several weeks.


Advantages of road studs

The reasons for having road studs is that they provide visibility day and night, regardless of the weather, they provide audible and tactile feedback to the driver when they’re driven over and, using the different colours, they tell drivers which side of the road is left and right and indicate the direction the road is heading.


Total Road Products has over 20 years’ experience in the road visibility. Total Road Products is South Africa's leading, totally objective, supplier of top quality road marking products to enhance night and day visibility which have an influence on road safety.

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