As you drive from one location to the next in your local area or while on vacation, you encounter various roadside structures. The average person may not think much about them, though, so their purpose remains a mystery for the most part. An example of this kind of structure is a highway impact attenuator. Here, we’ll describe what they are and clarify why highway impact attenuators are used.

What Is a Highway Impact Attenuator?

Highway impact attenuators come in multiple forms, but they are usually marked by the color yellow so that they are visible to drivers. They may appear as contiguous sections of metal or plastic and may look like unconnected groupings of barrels as well. Location-wise, you may see them in front of gore points, which are the areas where highways split off in multiple directions, near the pillars that hold up overpasses, or at the start of guardrails. In each case, the attenuators point toward you.

Improving Highway Safety

The primary reason why highway impact attenuators are used is to protect drivers and roadside objects. If you think about each of those areas on highways that attenuators exist in, you will notice that without something to dampen an impact, a vehicle can suffer grave damage if it hits them head-on. Gore points and guardrails can spear an oncoming automobile moving at high speed or cause it to flip over. Overpass pillars can act as solid walls that destroy vehicles should drivers run into them. The extreme impact that vehicles suffer in those circumstances can prove fatal for drivers and passengers, as their bodies will continue to move with forward momentum and collide with their vehicles’ interiors.

Highway impact attenuators have a degree of give in their design that lets them move and crumple as a vehicle makes contact with them in order to absorb that vehicle’s force. At the same time, attenuators are firm enough to bring automobiles to a safe halt or redirect them back onto the highway when they crash into the attenuators from the side. The attenuators also keep structures, objects, and people that may stand behind them safe from the damages and injuries that could result from a direct collision.

If you are looking for a company to construct highway impact attenuators to protect people and objects on or near the road, call Durham Fence & Guardrail. We are a company that specializes in highway guardrail installation and have strong expertise in creating highway impact attenuators as part of these services.