Retroreflectivity in the World of Traffic Signs



Example of Visual Nighttime Inspection

We all see traffic signs on all roads, which provide all types of information necessary for operating our vehicles safely. What many drivers do not know is that traffic signs are required to maintain a minimum level of retroreflectivity.

What is retroreflectivity? In simplest terms, it is the light that returns to the user from the light source, which in most cases is an automobile’s headlights.

Governmental agencies are required to ensure their signs meet or exceed retroreflectivity standards established by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA). They accomplish this requirement by implementing an assessment or management methodology to ensure traffic signs adhere to uniform standards defined by the FHWA.

The two most widely used assessment methods are Visual Nighttime Inspection and Measured Sign Retroreflectivity. They are defined as follows:

  • Visual Nighttime Inspection is performed at night by a trained inspector from a moving vehicle with the headlights on low beam.
  • Measured Sign Retroreflectivity is measured by a retroreflectometer. These devices are typically very expensive and tend to be cost prohibitive for small agencies.

The three most widely used management methods are Expected Sign Life, Blanket Replacement, and Control Signs. They are defined as follows:

  • Expected Sign Life is measured from the date of installation of the sign by labeling and recording. There are many factors that affect a sign’s retroreflectivity like geographical area, the direction the sign is facing and type of reflective sheeting just to name a few.
  • Blanket Replacement is just what the name implies, in that all signs are replaced in a specified area. Some agencies segregate their city or county into sectors, with one sector getting replaced each year.
  • The Control Signs method is a group of signs normally maintained in a maintenance yard. They are erected at the same time signs are installed on the streets, and when they fail to meet the minimum standards, all signs associated with that control group are replaced.

Meeting the Minimum Retroreflectivity Standards established by FHWA is not an option…it is a requirement. For further information about upgrading to these standards, please contact Vulcan Signs today! 1.800.633.6845 |

#VulcanSigns #retroreflectivity #trafficsigns #transportationsigns #highwaysigns #fhwa #stopsigns #madeintheusa #foleyalabama #manufacturing

Welcome to Foley, Alabama | Vulcan’s Hometown


Vulcan began as a small sign manufacturer in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1935 and has continued growing for over 80 years. The first production facility was established in Foley, Alabama in 1968. The decision to move to Foley has proven to be the right one. We have an incredibly close working relationship with the city and are very proud of that. The current Mayor of Foley, Mr. John Koniar worked for Vulcan for many years beginning as a Sales and Product Manager and rising to Vice President of Mill Sales at the time of his retirement. He currently serves on our Board of Directors.


In honor of Foley’s recent Centennial celebration, a 52-foot clock and bell tower was erected in Foley Heritage Park and the plaque above was inserted into one of the cornerstone posts. It reads “Vulcan, Inc. – An employee owned company that expects Foley to be its home for the next 100 years.”


Proudly bearing the title of An Employee Owned Company, Vulcan has made it a priority to invest in the community in which our employees live and work. Our active involvement with the area Chamber of Commerce and other organizations such as The United Way of Baldwin County and local schools has strengthened our connection to Foley and its residents. In 1985, Cater Lee, Founder of Vulcan, Inc. initiated the Vulcan Scholarship Program for students beginning their college career in Engineering. Since its inception, Vulcan has awarded over $500,000 in scholarship monies to graduating seniors from Foley, Robertsdale and Gulf Shores High Schools. Our goal is to not only see our business continue to grow, but also to re-invest in the city and local community that we have been blessed to call home for the past 47 years.

#VulcanAluminum #FoleyAlabama #AlabamaGulfCoast #Manufacturing



Vulcan Driveable Markers: One Product, Two Uses


The Vulcan Driveable Marker, or more commonly called DRV Marker, is a product manufactured by Vulcan that is sold by both of our sign divisions, Vulcan Signs and Vulcan Utility Signs. It is a fiberglass based composite marker developed to drive easily in all soil conditions, while maintaining flexibility. Standard lengths of the marker are 66” and 72”, with other lengths available. The DRV is comprised of 65% fiberglass and is the strongest fiberglass marker available on the market today. Other benefits of the DRV include:

  • Will not rust, rot or corrode
  • Remains stable in temperatures from -30 to +120 and will not embrittle in cold temperatures nor soften in heat
  • Superior strength and easy to drive in soil
  • Absorbs vehicular impacts and returns to original position
  • Ultraviolet inhibitors provide long-term product stability and color retention
  • Never needs painting, as color is the same throughout the marker

Will survive controlled ditch burns which often melt or destroy plastic markers

Even though both Vulcan Signs and Vulcan Utility Signs market this product, customers that purchase this item from the two divisions utilize it in very different ways.

Vulcan Signs’ customers utilize the DRV as a delineator post. The marker is commonly used in areas where traffic merges, as well as sharp curves in the roadway. Typically, a strip of reflective sheeting is applied to the DRV, in order to enhance nighttime visibility.

Vulcan Delineator

 Vulcan DRV Used As Delineator Post

Vulcan Utility Signs markets and sells the DRV as a marking solution for underground pipelines. After WARNING labels with all federally regulated information are screen-printed, one is applied to both sides of the DRV.

Vulcan Flexible Fiberglass Marker

Vulcan DRV Used To Mark Buried Pipelines

Vulcan’s unique design helps protect the decals from damage during installation or vehicle impacts, enabling the markers to have a longer field life. DRVs are available in a wide variety of colors, with custom colors available as well. The DRV also has an available anchor kit which is designed to secure the marker in loose, sandy or marsh type conditions.

Vulcan’s unique design includes recessed sides which protect the vinyl sheeting from damage during installation or vehicle impacts.

Flexible Fiberglass Colors

Vulcan also manufactures a specialized tool for installation of DRVs. Using the VF-105 Installation Tool, a worker can install a DRV in less than one minute.

Vulcan Flexible Fiberglass Driver

For more information or to place an order, please call 1.888.846.2728 or send us an email to