New Ford Technology Helps Keep Roadside Workers Safe

Added: 25 February 2021

If you’ve ever worked on the roadside in the dark, you’ll know first-hand how dangerous it can be. That’s why we’re keen to tell you about Ford’s new safety technology!

Ford have created new and intelligent electronic high-visibility rear panels which do not rely on other light sources to be visible in the dark.

The red stripes, available on Transit and Transit Custom models, are illuminated by electricity passing through a thin layer of phosphorus gas, activated by a switch behind the driver’s seat.

Lots of roadside workers, like those fixing potholes and maintaining utility supplies, operate in risky environments and standard reflective panels rely on the headlights of passing vehicles for illumination. This means that these panels can be less effective when approached from around a corner.

So, with this new technology, other drivers will be able to see the roadside vehicle before their headlights reach it, providing a much safer environment.


“Roadside working is a necessary and sometimes dangerous part of the job for many of our customers”, said Simon Robinson, chief program engineer, Special Vehicle Engineering, Ford of Europe. “We want to ensure that what is often essential work can be carried out as safely and effectively as possible. Creating panels that can be illuminated without having to rely on other sources of light was literally a ‘light bulb’ moment.”

Ford trialled its panels in collaboration with Northumbrian Water Group, enabling engineers to monitor their effectiveness in real-world scenarios and to gauge the benefits of panels that light up – even when other drivers neglect to activate their headlights. Now Northumbrian Water Group, which includes Essex & Suffolk Water, are the first commercial users.

 “I’m delighted to see an idea that stemmed from our drivers working in partnership with Ford’s product innovation team come to life”, said Kate Wilson, transport manager, Northumbrian Water Group. “It will improve safety not only in our sector, but in future fleets across the world, and I know that it will make our teams who work in dangerous roadside environments feel safer and much more visible to our customers.”

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