What is the Purpose of Guard Rails?
Posted on May 15th, 2020
The main purpose of a guard rail, also known as a guide rail, is to provide a safety barrier for motorists who have left the roadway. Guardrails can serve a variety of purposes for keeping motorists safe. A guard rail can help to deflect a vehicle back to the roadway or slow down the vehicle to a complete stop. It can also, in some cases, help to slow down the vehicle and allow the vehicle to process past the guard rail.
Guard rails and their ability to protect against the range of situations motorists can end up in will depend on several factors. Guardrail performance can be affected by the size and speed of the vehicle as well as the vehicle’s orientation when it hits the guard rail.
When Should a Guard Rail Be Installed?
The guard rail is meant to prevent the motorist from hitting objects such as utility poles, trees, retaining walls, or other objects that are not feasible to remove from the side of the road. A guard also helps to prevent motorists from becoming stuck on a steep embankment or side slope surrounding the road.
In many cases, it is safer for the motorist to collide with a guardrail rather than striking objects such as a tree or utility pole. If the consequences of hitting the guard rail are less severe than hitting the retaining wall or trees that lay beyond the guard rail, then it is best to have a guide rail installed in that part of the roadway.
How a Guard Rail System Works
Guard rails function as a complete system that includes a variety of components including:
- The guardrail
- The posts
- The soil the posts are installed in
- Connection of the guard rail to the posts
- The end terminal
- The anchoring system for the end terminal
Each of these components works together to handle the impact of a vehicle. The two key elements of a guard rail include the end terminal and the guard rail face:
- The Guardrail Face. This is the length of the guard rail that extends from the end terminal. The face functions to redirect the vehicle back onto the road.
- The End Terminal. Where the guard rail starts is referred to as the end treatment. The end terminals have two functions. If they are hit head-on, the impact head will slide down the guard rail. It will flatten and the guard rail and redirect the guard rail away from the vehicle until it decelerates to a stop. If hit at an angle, the impact head may function to partially extrude, “gating” out of the way so the vehicle can pass behind the guard rail. The terminal and guard rail is pushed through and opens like a gate.
Need a Guard Rail Installed? We Can Help!
At Fence By Maintenance Service
, we have extensive experience as guide rail installers in Pittsburgh. With a highly trained crew and quality materials, we ensure that your guide rail project is completed on time and within budget. Contact us today to learn more!