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WHAT IS DOT C2 REFLECTIVE TAPE ? – SPECIFICATIONS CERTIFICATION DEFINITION
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DOT Truck (Tractor Trailer) marking requirements were set up by the FMCSA to help improve visibility in low light conditions and reduce the probability of fatal motor vehicle crashes into the sides or back of stopped or parked trucks and tractor trailers at night or in poor visibility conditions.
On December 10, 1992, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA published a final ruling that required trailers manufactured on or after December 1, 1993 having an overall width of 80 inches or more and a gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of more than 10,000 pounds, be equipped on the sides and rear with a means for making them more visible on the road. The NHTSA ruling allows trailer manufacturers to install either red and white retro reflective tape or sheeting or reflex reflectors. This tape is commonly referred to as DOT-C2 reflective tape and is thus marked for easy identification (Exemption – pole trailers and trailers designed exclusively for living or office use)
While the term DOT C2 Red and White Reflective Tape is used quite often in regards to marking tractor trailer rigs 80 inches wide or wider and over 10,000 lbs GVWR, what the term “DOT C2” means is seldom discussed. Most people know that the letters DOT mean “Department of Transportation. Also, some people know that the term C2, C3 or C4 refers to the width of the tape. (2″,3″ or 4”) Most people do not know what it takes for a reflective tape to be certified as “DOT C2, C3, or C4”. This article is meant to help you understand what these requirements are so that you can be sure that you are using the correct product on your vehicle. In the event of an accident, having the proper markings is especially important. We recommend Oralite (formerly Reflexite) DOT tapes. They invented prismatic reflective tape and their products are respected and recognized around the world. The downsides to using a cheap substitute are simply not worth it.
In order to be certified as DOT C2, C3 or C4 tape, certain requirements have to be met. These requirements involve the construction of the tape, the color, the width, the spacing of the alternating colors, the performance, and the reflectivity. If a DOT C2 Red Reflective Tape has been certified to meet these standards then the manufacturer is allowed to put DOT C2 certification on it. The specifics of the requirements are as follows. (Source – Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration 393.11)
Color – DOT tape must be made with white and red alternating colors. The white color on prismatic tapes often looks silver but reflects white at night.

Reflective Tape. Everyone knows where it’s used right? I’ll be honest, until I started working with it, I had absolutely no idea how many pieces I’d see of ECE104R reflective tape each day. It’s a little strange since it’s whole job is not to fade into the background but, like most things that do their job well, you kind of take it for granted.
In this post, I’m going to explore several uses I’ve either found, seen or heard about for Reflective Tape. This list is more focused on uses for reflective around the home, in the office or out and about and less on industrial uses like road safety signs, work gear and vehicle marking and identification as those are all fairly well known at this stage.
The below is by no means exhaustive but hopefully it proves a little useful in inspiring you to come up with your own ideas. As always if you do come up with a particularly interesting use, we’d love to hear about it.

Sewn To Clothing
For those of you looking to increase your visibility when exercising at night or working in areas with passing traffic, a little ECE 104R Red Reflective Tape sewn to the outside of jackets or shirts can be a huge help.

Though you can use our reflective tapes for this, they’re not designed for it so we don’t recommend it. You can buy reflective fabric that doesn’t have the adhesive and is a little more flexible. This may be a better option for sewing to clothes.
Vehicles and Trailers
One of the more common uses for ECE 104R Yellow Reflective Tape is on the sides and backs of vehicles, rolling stock or trailers. While most of these already have reflectors, many companies and people see benefits in increasing their visibility by adding more. This can be of real benefit if the vehicle or trailer is parked in a partially obscured spot or high traffic area at night or in low light conditions.
Highlighting Objects On The Edge Of Driveways
Something I’m sure will strike a chord with anyone who has to repeatedly back out of a curved, sloped or complex driveway; object on the edge can be a real hazard. Especially things with a narrow profile (like handrails) as these can be hard to spot in your rear-view mirror and parking sensors don’t always pick them up.

If your driveway has things like this on its edges, it could well be worth placing a little Reflective Strips on them to increase their visibility at night. Of course you’ll never need them but it could make life a little easier and save some serious embarrassment next time you have people around for a barbeque.

Bikes and Motorcycles
Something I’m sure will strike a chord with anyone who has to repeatedly back out of a curved, sloped or complex driveway; object on the edge can be a real hazard. Especially things with a narrow profile (like handrails) as these can be hard to spot in your rear-view mirror and parking sensors don’t always pick them up.
If your driveway has things like this on its edges, it could well be worth placing a little Reflective Sticker on them to increase their visibility at night. Of course you’ll never need them but it could make life a little easier and save some serious embarrassment next time you have people around for a barbeque.
Bikes and Motorcycle
If you’re planning on riding at night, a couple of reflective spots on your helmet can significantly increase your visibility.
Boats and Ships
Arrow Mark Reflective Tape on the topside, sizes and underside of your craft can make a big difference to visibility and safety. Obvious placement points include out-jutting parts and on protruding edges (though low doorways may also be worth thinking about as per point ???). One area you may not have thought of is the underside of the boat. If the worst does happen and the craft is overturned, an aerial search will be easier if there’s some reflective tape in place to help catch searchers attention. This is particularly pertinent for life rafts and smaller vessels.
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