Ford has introduced new electronic high-visibility panels for its Transit and Transit Custom vans.
They feature red stripes illuminated by electricity passing through a thin layer of phosphorus gas, which Ford says is a technology previously used in aeroplane cockpits and on screens for medical and military equipment.
Ford says this is a better solution than standard reflective panels for protecting roadside workers, since the new panels do not rely on a direct hit from car headlights to be seen.
It says the panels were trialled in collaboration with Northumbrian Water Group – which has now become the first commercial user.
Northumbrian Water Group transport manager Kate Wilson said: “I’m delighted to see an idea that stemmed from our drivers working in partnership with Ford’s product innovation team come to life.
“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.”
Ford of Europe special vehicle engineering chief programme engineer Simon Robinson said: “Roadside working is a necessary and sometimes dangerous part of the job for many of our customers.
“We want to ensure that what is often essential work can be carried out as safely and effectively as possible.”