In order to keep everyone who uses our roads safe, vehicles have to adhere to certain rules. There’s more to this than driving on the left and not parking on zebra crossings, though. For commercial and working vehicles there are specific rules governing how they look.
The Department of Transport produces a set of guidelines – usually referred to as ‘the Red Book’ – governing signs and traffic management. Chapter 8 of these guidelines is what we’re concerned with here.
What Is Chapter 8?
Chapter 8 of the DoT’s guidelines relates specifically to temporary situations and road works. Among other things, this governs the way that vehicles used in highway works need to be marked in a specific way to ensure that they are visible to other road users.
Vehicles that stop on the highway to carry out works or do inspection work need to have reflective stripes – known as Chapter 8 chevrons – displayed on the rear. These should be alternating stripes of reflective and non-reflective material. Chevrons from suppliers like https://www.vehiclechevrons.com/ usually have red reflective stripes interspersed with yellow.
There are specific rules about how these chevrons should be applied. The stripes need to be at least 150mm wide and angled at 45 to 60 degrees. They must cover as much of the back of the vehicle as possible but not obscure windows. On vehicles under 7.5 tonnes the stripes need to run upwards.
Maintenance vehicles also need to have ‘HIGHWAY MAINTENANCE’ or ‘MOTORWAY MAINTENANCE’ displayed in letters that are at least 70mm high. There also needs to be a 50mm-wide strip of reflective material applied along the side of the vehicle.
Red reflective tape needs to be fitted to the edges of all opening doors or lockers that are visible from the rear of the vehicle. Where the standard reflective markings could be hidden – perhaps by some equipment attached to the rear of the vehicle – then they can be applied to other rear-facing parts of the vehicle too.
Chapter 8 markings are designed to help keep everyone safe on the roads, so it’s important to ensure that your vehicles are compliant with the regulations. Although you can’t be fined for non-compliance, should a vehicle that is not properly marked be involved in an accident, you could end up in court.