5 Reasons to Increase Your Visibility During Outdoor Activities

5 Reasons to Increase Your Visibility During Outdoor Activities

There’s a multitude of reasons one might want to stand out while exercising or participating in any outdoor activity, but the major reason is to increase overall safety. Being seen has so many benefits that outweigh being “on-trend” or fashionable. But something we’re here to educate you on and advocate for is one thing that is often overlooked (pardon the pun) and it’s how visible your clothing color choice makes you.

We’ve compiled a short list of reasons why you should consider the color of your clothing --and whether it increases or decreases your visibility-- before your next outdoor adventure:

1. You NEED To Stand Out

Since the majority of traffic accidents involving pedestrians are caused by drivers not seeing the pedestrian in time, anything you can do to make yourself more visible to drivers is a good idea. 

Imagine you're a driver who's approaching an intersection. There are two pedestrians crossing the street, one wearing an eye-catching color and one not. Which pedestrian are you more likely to see? The human eye is naturally attracted to bright, high-contrast colors so the pedestrian in the bright colors would be most easily seen. 

Ever notice that cyclists mostly opt for bright colored cycling gear? It’s because of the eye-catching capabilities of bright high-contrast colors. You're more likely to see the cyclist and avoid an accident if they’re not blending into the backdrop. 

Being seen decreases the risk of car vs. pedestrian injury, so opt for a color not typically found in nature, one that's high-contrasting and eye-catching like the ones designed by LifeBrite Active to help you stand out to oncoming vehicles.

highly visible cyclist wears bright red top to stand out to oncoming cars

2. It Can Aid in Search and Rescue

It is truly remarkable the advancements we’ve made on the search and rescue front, however, despite the use of GPS, tracking devices, and cell-towers, nearly 2,000 hikers still manage to get lost every year. 

One of the most interesting advancements we’ve learned about while researching this topic is the use of drones and image scanning technology. One image scanning software called Loc8 (pronounced “locate”) is really setting the standard for drone based search and rescue. Their program –which can run on a basic laptop– uses pixel technology to locate specific colors in a search and rescue mission. Tell it what color you’re looking for and it will scan your video or images at the pixel level. When it finds a match, you get an alert with the location of the pixels highlighted. You can then zoom in for a closer look or dispatch someone on the ground to check it out. If a hiker was last seen in a green or black top, although the software can be instructed to focus on specific shades, it would make the search and rescue mission more difficult. Wearing a color not likely found in nature, like bright/neon red helps the program locate you more efficiently. 

hiker waterfalls high contrast red jacket against dark backdrop

3. It Decrease Odds of Accidental Injury

Ever wonder why hunters wear bright orange vests, hats, or hunting gear? Deer and other game cannot distinguish color like humans can. The human eye uses a complex system of cones and rods to see a broad spectrum of color and depths while game animals have a much simpler vision process. Because of this, Bambi can’t see an Outrageous Orange t-shirt or sweatshirt but hunters absolutely can, and it’s this that allows them to distinguish each other from potential prey. The concept can and should be applied to hikers, rock-climbers and outdoors people in general. Opting for colors not commonly found in nature, ones that create a clear contrast to your surroundings and distinguish you from the wildlife can help to eliminate you as a possible target.  

hunters in orange are easily distinguished from the backdrop and surrounding wildlife in their bright orange clothing

4. It Can Increase Low-light or Night Time Safety:

Increasing your visibility in low-light conditions such as sunset or sunrise –optimal times for outdoor workouts– is critical to safety. Dressing brightly can improve a passersby's ability to see you and decrease the risk of accidental injury. When it comes to colors for increased safety, yellow is the most visible color in darker conditions. Our vision works on a system of cones and rods. The rods (small structures in the eye) are responsible for sight in low-light situations. And the cones are responsible for high-light conditions. Therefore, it’s the rods that help us to see yellow in the dark. One reason taxis and caution signs are often yellow is because of their ability to be seen in darkness and from a distance. Applying this same concept to your workout wear and opting for a bright yellow shade can increase your visibility in low-light conditions.  

sunset hiker highly visible in yellow coat

5. Get Distinguished From a Distance

This one kind of incorporates all the pros of wearing brightly colored clothing in one. Being seen from a distance aids in supervision as well as search and rescue attempts, it increases the ability of being seen by oncoming vehicles, and distinguishes you from surrounding game and wildlife. The most visible colors from a distance are bright yellow and bright green, but it’s important to always consider contrast before reaching for your activewear choice. Although bright green is highly-visible it may not be the best choice for heavily wooded areas, a more visible, highly-contrasting color to reach for in this scenario would be bright pink or neon red. When it comes to swimming, you’ll want to reach for colors that contrast highly against blue or dark backdrops such as bright yellow, bright orange, or bright green to increase your visibility and aid in supervision.