Highways greatly increase the convenience of automotive travel because they allow drivers to move at high speeds without fear of intersections, pedestrians, and other factors that are common on regular roads. Despite removing these, people can still get in accidents while on highways, so there should be structures in place to lower the risk of serious injury. The following are road features that are essential for highway safety.
Likely the safety detail that the majority of people are aware of, guardrails serve several critical roles for highways. When hit more lightly at a slight angle, they can redirect cars back onto the road. With harder impacts, they slow down vehicles while giving way to them, so the crash force is softened. They are particularly necessary when the ground on the side of the highway drops steeply. Besides benefitting drivers, guardrails also protect the structures and land that lie behind them. A car cannot continue moving forward far into them when a guardrail is in place.
Rumble strips are more subtle road features that are essential for highway safety. They are no more than repeating ridges along the highway’s right edge, but this does not make them any less important. Their function is to cause vehicles to vibrate while also producing an audible sound as the tires roll over them. This is meant to signal to an inattentive driver that they are about to move off the road entirely. On a highway where there are many people who have been driving for many hours and may become fatigued, rumble strips can prevent disaster due to momentary negligence.
Impact attenuators are similar to guardrails in that they slow and stop vehicles that are driving in directions that they should not. The difference is that they handle head-on collisions at areas such as overpasses and gore points where lanes diverge. The attenuators make it clear that people should avoid them with bright yellow coloration. Should someone still run into them, they dull the impact so that both the driver and any structures behind them do not get extremely hurt or damaged. This is pivotal in defending the driver because the sudden halt they would experience without the attenuators could prove fatal.
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