The Use of Glass Beads in Road Marking Paint


Glass beads as an addition to road marking paint offer additional reflectivity and visibility. Below you will find 3 examples of situations where glass beads are used in conjunction with road marking paint.

Visibility for drivers at night:


Glass beads have a reflective power called retro-reflection that makes it much easier for drivers to see the road at night. This is especially important on roads that are not well lit.

William Nicol Interchange | Elegant Line Road MarkingOn roads outside of major cities, a car’s headlights are often not enough to provide good visibility for the driver. This is especially true on roads with high speed limits and very little additional light to show the markings on the road.

The retro-reflection provided by the beads that are added to the road paint, reflects more light back at the driver so that they can see markings better and at a greater distance. The glass beads therefore help improve the lines on the road and assist people driving at night.

Wet roads and roads with low visibility


When a road is wet, due to rain or mist, it tends to reflect not only headlights but also streetlights and traffic lights across the whole surface. This can be very distracting and disorientating for the driver using the road.

In these kind of situations, the retro-reflection of glass beads in road paint can help road markings stand out from the other reflections on the road.

Dangerous roads


Certain roads have a higher level of danger. This could be because of school areas, pedestrian crossings, bends in the road or other factors that require more traffic markings on the road and higher visibility. In addition, these could be roads that are known for high accident occurrences.

Adding glass beads to the road marking paint can help reduce the likelihood of accidents and improve overall safety.

Budget Considerations


When we use glass beads with road markings there is a higher up front cost for the actual road painting. However, adding glass beads to the road paint does also aid in making the road paint last longer. Saving you costs in the long run and prolonging how quickly the road needs to be repainted.

Specifications according to SANS 731


“Where retro-reflective paint is required, the retro-reflective beads shall we applied by means of a suitable machine in one continuous operation, immediately after the paint has been applied. The rate of application of the beads shall be 0,8kg/l of paint or such other rate as may be directed by the engineer”

Direct quote from SANS 731-1

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