An accident in Kansas City,Missouri, has once again brought up the importance of maintenance and auditing when it comes to safety mechanisms.
On May 25, a driver lost control of his pickup truck and drove over a guardrail. One person was taken to the hospital with minor injuries, luckily.
Media reports say that neighbours have reported numerous accidents at that particular corner of Little Blue Rd. and Noland Rd.
If you take a look at the photos provided by the media, you can see that the guardrail is too low, which is why the truck simply drove right over it. The driver is actually incredibly lucky there is no ditch or underpass on the other side. But, even without a ditch, there are still a number of trees that a car travelling at high speeds can hit if they lose control of their vehicle.
The w-beam height of a standard guardrail should be at least at least 530 mm or 610 mm with a channel.If a steel beam guide rail is too low, it will create an “overturning moment” upon impact — meaning the car would go right over the guide rail and into the hazard on the other side. If a guide rail is too high, it will result in a vehicle going under the offset beam, snag on the posts, and cause a spinout.
This is why it is so important to audit safety mechanisms. Most of these guardrails were installed decades ago, and may not comply to the new standards — and the new vehicles on the roads. This leaves room for failure and can be a contributing cause of injury during a car crash.
If this intersection is a location where a large number of accidents occur, then maybe road safety experts should be looking at the safety mechanisms on these roads. Instead of waiting until the next accident occurs, which may involve a more serious injury, why not go back and repair that guardrail? It doesn’t take much to ensure it’s the proper height.