What is a reflector?

Reflectors are objects that reflect light beams back to the source of that light, without re-emitting or altering the light itself. This reflection occurs because the reflector is designed to disperse or reflect the incoming light in a specific way. In vehicles, reflectors are often used to increase the visibility of vehicles, cyclists, or pedestrians in low-light situations.

Why is a reflector important?

  • Safety first: Reflectors significantly increase visibility, especially in low light conditions. They alert other road users to the presence of a vehicle or person.
  • No electricity needed: Because they reflect light and do not produce it, reflectors do not require a power source. This makes them reliable in all conditions.
  • Legally required: In many countries, reflectors are legally required on vehicles, especially at the rear, to enhance road safety.

Different reflector colours

Different colours of reflectors are available. In total, three different colours are possible: orange/amber, red and white. Each colour is for a different spot on the vehicle.

Red reflectors: Red reflectors are intended for the rear of a vehicle. They should never be placed on any other side of the vehicle. This is related to traffic safety. The color should allow other road users to see which side of the vehicle it is. Red reflectors come in three different shapes: rectangular, triangular, and round.

Amber reflectors: Amber reflectors are intended for the side of your vehicle. The color amber is a technical term for the orange color commonly seen in traffic. Orange reflectors should only be used on the side of your vehicle. This is also to ensure traffic safety.

White reflectors: A white reflector is intended for the front of your vehicle. Just like the red and orange reflectors, white ones should not be used on any other side.

Obligatory reflectors on trailer

Every vehicle has its own rules and laws. When looking at reflectors, the trailer is a good example. All the different colours are compulsory on a trailer. Before a trailer is allowed on the public roads, it must be fitted with at least one of the following:

  • Two white reflectors on the front, these may not be triangular. They must be mounted at least 250 mm from the ground with a maximum of 900 mm.
  • Eén oranje reflector aan allebei de zijkanten. Ook voor deze geldt dat het tussen 250mm en 900mm van de grond moet zitten.
  • Two red reflectors at the rear. Different minimum and maximum heights apply. At the rear, they must be at least 350 mm from the ground and no more than 1500 mm.

In addition to the reflectors Are there any other rules for the lighting on a trailer?.