What is a Crash Attenuator?

10 Sep 2020 Traffic Control

One of the most important elements in road safety and the prevention of accidents on the highway is a crash attenuator. If you are unsure what a crash attenuator is and which kind of attenuator will work best for your specific road construction project, the experts in traffic management from Valley Traffic Systems would love to help you select the ideal crash attenuators for your project requirements.

What are Crash Attenuators?

Crash attenuators, also known as impact attenuators or crash cushions, are devices that are designed to help reduce the amount of damage done to structures, motorists, and vehicles as a result of a car accident.

How do Crash Attenuators Work?

Crash attenuators are usually placed in front of guardrails, bridge parapets, concrete barriers, toll gates, and other roadside hazards to keep vehicles from passing through them. By placing crash attenuators in front of potential hazards, they can help save the lives of drivers who hit the barrier in a head-on collision.

Types of Crash Attenuators

Each type of crash attenuator works best in a particular situation. Some of the different types of crash attenuators include:

Guardrail End Treatments

Guardrail end treatments are specifically designed to help keep the guardrail in place in the event of a collision. This type of crash attenuator attaches to the blunt end of a rigid guardrail and faces into traffic. All guardrail end treatments are painted yellow and black so that they will easily stand out, giving drivers ample warning about upcoming danger.

Sand Barrels

Sand barrels are commonly placed in front of rigid guardrails at exit points along the highway. These bright yellow barrels are often manufactured from UV stabilized high-density polyethylene and are designed to stop a car in its tracks during a head-on collision, helping to protect drivers from fatal accidents.

Truck-Mounted Attenuators

Truck-mounted attenuators are mounted behind large trucks and are designed to protect vehicles and workers while they are performing work on a temporarily closed lane. In most cases, this type of crash attenuator will work best when attached to a heavier vehicle, as the vehicle will not roll as far forward when hit as a lighter vehicle would.

If you would like to learn more about what a crash attenuator is, or if you are interested in one of their crash attenuator products, please contact Valley Traffic Systems at the location nearest you or by filling out a quote form on their website.