While there are fewer crashes on motorways per mile than on other roads, when they do occur it’s more likely to result in serious injury or death due to the high speeds involved. Here in the United Kingdom, 2% of all motorway crashes result in fatalities, and if you compare that to the 1.4% of all crashes – regardless of where they are – there is a significant difference. There is also an increased possibility of fatalities on motorways because of pile-ups, regardless of the safety measurements in place.
Motorway barriers have been used for many years to act as a way to keep vehicles within their roadway, preventing them from colliding dangerously with other obstacles. They’re also versatile enough to be used in situations like pedestrian zones, school yards, in factories where vehicles are frequently used, and many more settings where safety is of paramount importance. They’re specifically designed in a way to reduce roadside hazards and are also intended to absorb part of the energy from impact (called containment) so to redirect the vehicle along the line, rather than to re-enter a stream of traffic.
Barriers such as these are used to protect users from areas of identified risk and also where they can be justified, not just in terms of cost but safety as well. They’re only used in areas where the consequences of vehicle striking a barrier are considered to be less harmful than if the motorway were to continue without restrains.
In most cases, barriers are made up of two main components; working width and containment level. A containment level is the deflection amount that occurs upon impact and the working width is the barrier’s width plus containment level. To ensure that all motorway barriers are completely safe and 100% effective, they’re placed through a series of extensive simulations to test their durability and also undergo a comprehensive crash test.
In the UK, we test barriers to European Standard EN1317. Barriers that are being tested for a normal containment should use a 1.5tons vehicle (about an average car) to hit the barrier at an angle of 20 degrees and travelling at a speed of 70mph. For high containment barriers, they should use a commercial vehicle (up to 38tons) at 40mph with the same degree.
Without these vigorous inspections, they’re not approved for use. It’s critical that these structures have high performance limits and provide an adequate level of protection. Obviously they can’t prevent accidents from happening at all, but they can certainly counteract the blow, reducing the risk of fatalities and serious injuries.
There are many different types of barriers available which perform in difference ways on impact. Some can be flexible and made of materials such as steel beams and steel wire rope but can also sometimes be made from concrete. The Highway Agency has said that they’d be willing to consider other systems and materials, should they meet the ES1317 standards.
The minimum length that a barrier can be installed in advance of a hazard is 30m, which includes areas like approaches to bridges over railways. Although, motorways and trunk road bridges above railways across the UK are longer than 30m, but are required to be over 0.61m in height.
Armco is one of the most generic and household names in the UK when talking about motorway barriers and they can be used in a variety of ways, Well-known for their durability, reliability and affordability Armco crash barriers help with compliance of the UK’s stringent Health and Safety Regulations. Whether you apply them to your factory, place or work or a motorway like the original use they’ll always deliver high quality work with exceptional results.
We are one of the UK’s best choices for motorway barriers and deliver exceptional results for all clients. Since August of 2000, we have been providing our specialist service and have established ourselves within the industry. In addition to our motorway barriers we also have a range of security and decorative fencing systems, handrails, acoustic barriers, bollards, anti ram raid systems, door/window grilles, swing/rising arm barriers and card entry systems to suit all of your requirements.
If you are interested in learning more please do not hesitate to contact us. We are always happy to help those you have questions or require some friendly advice.