How safe are highway median barriers?

On Behalf of | Jun 28, 2021 | Injuries |

If you regularly drive in and around Dallas, you undoubtedly pass hundreds of median barriers without giving them much thought. These barriers are simply structures construction crews erect to prevent cars from crossing through the median and colliding with oncoming traffic.

While a head-on collision may leave you with catastrophic injuries, you may also suffer life-altering ones in a collision with a median barrier. Your odds of suffering serious bodily harm may depend on the type of median barrier you hit.

Concrete barriers

Concrete barriers are common in places where drivers cannot pull off into clear zones due to buildings, other roads or something else. Because these barriers do not absorb the forces of a collision effectively, they may redirect your car back onto the highway. In extreme cases, concrete barriers may also cause your vehicle to flip.

Metal guardrails

Metal guardrails have come a long way in recent decades. Now, most guardrails do not remain fixed during a collision. Breakaway posts behind each section of guardrail collapse, allowing metal guardrails to absorb energy from the impact. Still, like with concrete barriers, guardrails may send your car back into the danger zone on the highway.

Cable barriers

In Texas, most cable barriers are at the bottom of the natural slope between roadways. These barriers take advantage of the clear zone, where cars decelerate after leaving the highway. If you collide with a cable barrier, you can expect it to absorb considerable forces from the impact. In a high-speed collision, though, a cable barrier may break.

While you can probably trust all barriers to protect you during an accident, some barriers may make matters worse in certain accidents. Consequently, when driving on roadways with median barriers, it is important to exercise additional caution.