You’ve probably seen highway guardrails on the side of some roads you’ve traveled. Gray and unassuming, they’re not often the highlight of the sights you see outside your window. But they are nevertheless a necessary component of the road in many areas. Here, we explain the importance of highway guardrails.

Deflects Vehicles

Depending on multiple factors, including angle, speed, and size of the vehicle, a guardrail can serve different roles. If the impact is not too great in force and happens at a slight angle, it can deflect the vehicle back onto the road. The guardrail will also slow it to a complete stop. This prevents the vehicle from traveling into particularly dangerous areas. These could be anything from steep drops, large objects such as trees or poles, and other lanes going in the opposite direction. Often, the beams on the guardrail are bent into a specific shape to maximize energy absorption and minimize vehicle damage. The most common of these shapes is the w-beam, which resembles the letter w turned on its side.

Reduces Damage

If a car or truck hits the guardrail hard enough to move through it, the guardrail acts to reduce damage and injury to the driver and passengers. One way it accomplishes this is by slowing down the vehicle enough to make any subsequent impacts less serious. The guardrail also makes sure that any automobile that comes into contact with it does not flip over. Even if it is hit at its end terminal (the place where the guardrail begins), engineers have designed it so that the rail will slide away from the force of the vehicle until it has been brought to a safe stop. This is a similar principle followed for the fronts of cars as well. Both the vehicle’s front side and the guardrail crumple to some degree to lower the severity of head-on collision for the people inside.

If your area needs highway guardrail installation, call Durham Fence & Guardrail. We have experience constructing effective guardrails at the local, state, and federal levels.