How Crash Resistance Barriers Are Saving Lives

High-speed highway driving

According to the US Department of transportation, 30-40% of fatal crashes occur when vehicles are run off the road. Another shocking statistic comes from 30% of all cross-median crashes ending in severe injury or fatality. These statistics have led to increased implementation of crash barriers to prevent vehicles from coming off the road or smashing into oncoming lanes. Concrete medians and metal guardrails save lives every year and make for safer roadways.

An improperly designed crash resistance barrier can make incidents even more dangerous by increasing the chance of rollover, stopping the vehicle too quickly, or shifting the vehicle in other unpredictable ways. The barriers we have on roads today are the product of research on thousands of crashes involving concrete and cable medians and guardrails. 

Crash resistance barriers save lives by preventing dangerous vehicle trajectories while softening and redirecting impacts to drivers wherever possible. This article will take a more in-depth look into all the ways that barriers work to keep us safe. 


Related: Technologies to Prevent Crashes Due to Wrong-Way Drivers


Guardrails and Barriers 


Drivers may swerve out of their lanes and off the road for many reasons. A car may stop too quickly in front of them, causing them to avoid a crash, fatigue, or not paying attention to the road, and inclement weather lead drivers to depart from the road every day.

Traffic engineers have been gathering data almost as long as automobiles have been around to create safer driving environments. Measures have been inducted into highways over time that help drivers stay on the road during a crash and avoid rollovers and other dangers off-road crashes. State and local agencies test different barriers and consult with engineers to create the safest and softest collisions possible for drivers who hit them. Crash barriers are an extremely useful tool to combat fatal auto crashes. 

Crash resistance barriers have been proven to save lives with thorough research in numerous independent studies. They have earned a reputation as a lifesaving piece of highway equipment that provides a shield not only to those involved directly in crashes but to pedestrians and property as well. 


Want the best Roadway equipment from professionals with decades of design and engineering experience? Take a look at our barriers and other equipment here. 


History of Crash Resistance Barriers 


There is a lot more to these hunks of steel and concrete than you might think at first glance. Crash resistance barriers are so commonplace on roads today that we tend not to think about them. Barriers can come in many shapes that best fit their environment and were highly engineered over time to provide the safest crash surfaces possible.

Until around 1980, most guardrails sloped down at the ends and were buried into the ground, but now a flat metal face more evenly distributes the impact on the car. Likewise, concrete median shapes changed over time to allow car wheels to ride up and then be redirected back toward their lane. These changes, when combined with advances in auto body safety features, have saved countless lives. 


Foggy highway 


How Crash Resistance Barriers Work 


A guardrail or crash barrier is primarily a means to prevent drivers from exiting a road when the off-road environment would be more dangerous than crashing into a barrier. However, if there is just flat grassy land beyond the road’s shoulder, then forgoing a barrier may actually be a safer option. A great deal of the time, there are steep drops, ditches, trees, or other obstacles that would be incredibly dangerous to drivers should they leave the road. Engineers will weigh the pros and cons of installing barriers or guardrails on any stretch of road that will offer the safest course for drivers. 

Crash barriers work by redistributing impact in less harmful ways to drivers and absorbing as much shock as possible to lighten any blow to the car. The intention of this is to provide two or more layers of energy absorption before any impact is passed on the occupants of the vehicle. The first layer is the softening of the blow from the barrier itself. The guardrails and cement median barriers are angled in such a way and built to soak up and redirect energy. The second layer of shock absorption will be from your car, which is designed to crumple metal in order to soften the impact. Other safety features such as seatbelts and airbags will further multiply the safety of all in even seemingly intense crashes. 


Related: Vehicle Gates Used in Managed Lanes Applications


Median Barriers Prove Effective 


Median barriers have proven to be an immensely effective tool to prevent serious head-on collision accidents. Preventing vehicles from crossing over into oncoming traffic is extremely important, especially with large vehicles such as tractor trailers and semi-trucks. Studies from the Federal Highway Administration have lauded that when median barriers are in place, they can prevent 90 percent of fatalities that occur when vehicles would have otherwise sped into oncoming traffic. It can be hard to gauge what would happen if a barrier had been in place during individual accidents as crashes can have unpredictable outcomes. Still, roads altogether seem to be much safer with a dividing barrier. 


Need high-quality safety equipment for your roadway? B&B Roadway Security Solutions has your organization covered for a variety of products — from road barriers to traffic gates. 


Guardrail on road


In short, crash barriers are a scientifically proven method of lessening auto fatalities by keeping drivers on the road and avoiding oncoming traffic. 

B&B Roadway Security Solutions has been dedicated to providing safer driving environments for all since 1925. We provide roadway safety equipment like warning gates, resistance barriers, lighting, and more to ensure public roadways become less deadly. Our traffic management products are designed and engineered to the highest quality and strength levels with a proud history of manufacturing and innovation. We also stand by our products with a 100% dedication to service and help with any problems in our products. Contact us today for barriers or other roadway equipment needs here


Related: Difference Between Passive and Active Barriers 

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