Do Guardrails Really Help Stop Truck Accidents?

Do Guardrails Really Help Stop Truck Accidents?Guardrails are in place to prevent drivers of both cars and trucks from rolling over or leaving the road in the event of an accident or unsafe driving conditions (like sharp curves or elevations). They’re also engineered to take on the impact of a collision and, hopefully, stop a minor accident from becoming a fatal one.

Guardrail accidents are more common than you might imagine. A recent fatal accident in Kings County saw a truck hit a guardrail and roll into a canal. A pre-Thanksgiving truck accident that left the highway covered in cookie dough broke a guardrail in the Cajon Pass. And, a recent lawsuit settlement in Los Angeles County included installing a much-needed guardrail at the site of a young woman’s car accident-related death.

A guardrail is designed to separate traffic, protect vehicles on bridges and overpasses, and used in areas where drivers may be at risk of rolling or going off the road. Any driver is susceptible to hitting a guardrail, including truck drivers. And, if a guardrail is unsafe, that truck accident can end up being much worse.

The problem with guardrails and barriers

Guardrails and other barriers (like rigid concrete barriers or stretched cables) play an important part in highway safety. However, because the basic design and material of guardrails hasn’t really changed much since they were implemented in the 1960s, drivers may rely on them more than is warranted. For example:

  • Size. When guardrails were first designed, most vehicles on the road were relatively the same size. Today, with a variety of differently-sized tractor-trailers, box trucks, and SUVs, vehicles may react to colliding with a guardrail in many ways. For example, if a guardrail is too low, a truck may jump or flip right over it, landing on highways or streets below.
  • Strength. Guardrails are typically made of concrete and steel, but aren’t designed specifically for big rigs and tractor-trailers. Even today’s oversized SUVs may be no match for older guardrails and barriers! If a truck collides with a guardrail, it can damage it to the point where it is useless if struck again. When another truck hits that rail, it may collapse and break, sending the truck into oncoming traffic or pedestrians.

Truck accidents and guardrails

Poorly-maintained guardrails, or a lack of guardrails altogether, can contribute to dangerous conditions or defective road design – which can lead to catastrophic truck and tractor-trailer accidents. When a guardrail doesn’t perform as expected, serious injury or fatality can result, not only to the truck driver, but to any nearby vehicles.

An experienced attorney can prove how these unsafe conditions led to the accident that injured you or your loved one.

Injuries from truck accidents

The risk of serious injury is increased in an accident with a truck, due to its massive size and weight in comparison to passenger cars, SUVs and motorcycles. With car-on-car accidents, victims may walk away with minor or moderate soft tissue injuries or broken bones. However, accidents with big rigs can cause catastrophic injury, including:

At McNicholas & McNicholas, our attorneys are here to help if you suffered injuries in a truck accident that wasn’t your fault. We will investigate what happened, and work to hold the right parties fully accountable for your losses and damages. To schedule your free case evaluation with a member of our Los Angeles legal team, call 310-474-1582, or reach out to us through our contact page to tell us your story.

Please note that this blog is not to be construed as legal advice. Because every case is fact-specific, you should consult directly with an attorney to obtain legal advice specific to your situation.