Guide to high visibility accessories and clothing

Whether you've broken down at the side of the road, or you're walking, running, or cycling in conditions with poor visibility, it's important to make sure that you can be seen.

High visibility – or hi-vis – clothing is a quick and easy way to make yourself seen in poor conditions or at night, alerting road users to your presence and potentially keeping you out of harm’s way.

In this guide, we’ll break down how to make yourself visible, when and where you should be wearing hi-vis, and the different types of clothing and accessories you can use to keep yourself and others safe.

How to make yourself visible

You don't have to be covered head to toe in hi-vis clothing to be safe. Even just a few accessories can make a big difference.

The main thing to think about when making yourself visible is contrast. This mostly means in terms of colour or brightness, so stripes of bright hi-vis can really stand out against darker surroundings, as can reflective materials against an unlit background. Wearing high visibility stripes on parts of yourself that will move frequently (like your arms or legs) is a really good way to make yourself visible, as well as letting the driver know that you're a person as opposed to a stationary object or vehicle.

When to wear high visibility clothing

You'll also need to have a think about when you're going to be wearing hi-vis clothing. Fluorescent colours work best during the day in poor conditions, when the vivid shades show up against drab backgrounds, but at night-time it's best to have areas of reflective material that will reflect headlights and other light sources to show your presence.

Any reflective areas will really contrast with a night-time background and make you much more visible to anybody approaching. Of course, using lights is also a good idea if you're out at night, and they’re a legal requirement if you're on a bike in the dark - take a look at our Buyer's Guide to Bike Lights for more information.

Types of high visibility clothing

There are all kinds of reflective, fluorescent and high visibility items you can use to keep yourself safe, whether you’re a pedestrian, cyclist, or any other night-time road user.

For clothing, many people opt for a hi-vis vest since it can be worn on top of your own clothes to keep you visible while you’re walking. Vests are also handy if your children walk to school, so that they're as visible as possible to traffic – we have a family pack of hi-vis vests to help keep everyone safe and seen.

If you want greater coverage – for example, to stay dry in the rain – then a hi-vis or fluorescent jacket is a great option. These are perfect for road cyclists, such as commuters, as they alert motorists to your presence while keeping you dry.

It’s not only road cyclists that should try and stay visible – mountain bikers can also benefit from hi-vis clothing or accessories, especially when riding on popular singletrack trails or back-country roads in low light conditions.

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High visibility accessories

You don’t just have to rely on clothing to increase your visibility – there are plenty of accessories that can reflect light and make you easier to see in the dark. For cyclists, waterproof hi-vis bag covers can help to light you up from behind while keeping your belongings safe and dry, while reflective helmet covers and trouser clips can keep you visible from head to toe. For your little ones, fluorescent armbands can help to make them easier to spot with minimal fuss.

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