Guardrails (Traffic Barriers)

There is an assemblage of standards for all kinds of automobiles, which have the ultimate goal of ensuring the safety of car passengers. Organizations that write these standards include the Automotive Industry Action Group (AIAG) and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). Standards for car emissions pursue this same objective for safety, since they are intended to reduce the amount of environmental damage, which protects not only the Earth but all of the living beings that exist together in a larger ecosphere, including humans. Even with the most updated standards for automobile safety, there will still be car accidents. Machinery will be prone to human error. With automobiles being the safest they can be, securing the roads should be the next step. Guardrails, or traffic barriers, on the sides of the roads and in other areas, can limit the area in which damage can occur.

Guardrails need to be able to withstand the impact of automobiles of different sizes at varying speeds. Traffic barriers are defined by their function or stiffness, and their potential to hold back cars is dependent on these two qualities. One type of guardrail that is defined by its function is a median barrier. These are designed to prevent a vehicle from crossing into oncoming traffic and striking another vehicle head-on. This is incredibly important for highways, where drivers are moving at high speeds. These median barriers are generally made of cement, and are partially covered by the scope of ISO 16039:2004: Road construction and maintenance equipment - Slipform pavers - Definitions and commercial specifications. This standard deals with the creation and nomenclature of infrastructure crafted by slipform pavers. The slipform paver for the median barrier guardrail can create both the mold and the layers of concrete that are piled on top of it to make the structure.

Guardrails for traffic control are not just limited to the sides of the roads. Other than reducing damage in a car-car collision, guardrails can protect from damage to structures and property by automobiles and allow for safe pedestrian travel. These kinds of guardrails are placed outside of public places, such as industrial and commercial buildings.

Obviously railings are not unique to traffic barriers. Guardrails are very important for places where people are exposed to heights or other hazards. ASTM E2353-14: Standard Test Methods for Performance of Glazing in Permanent Railing Systems, Guards, and Balustrades sets recommended guidelines for glazed railings and related systems. This standard is meant to test the retention of any glass or glazed material. Glass is used in different types of rail, guard, or balustrade assembles to increase the safety factor of those systems. However, if this glass becomes broken, then its intended safety is greatly overshadowed by new threats to public safety. The standard’s testing procedures help to prevent this by recommending methods to gain knowledge on the durability of the glazings.

Aside from these two examples, standards by the American Welding Society are applicable to many of the tasks performed to craft metal rails. Guardrails of any kind can put anxieties of unknown danger at ease, whether you are driving down a highway or standing on an elevated balcony. While guardrails hopefully will not be needed, it is still important to be prepared for the worst possible scenario when safeguarding human life. 
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