I’ve seen a lot of roadside barriers in my time. Most of them are effective but can be improved. One of the very first ones I saw was the sand ramp. A sand ramp is designed to slow down or stop a vehicle that does not have brakes. There are present in many highways and some freeways, and they rely on the use of simple physics.
The ramp is made of a lot of loose sand. When a vehicle enters the ramp, which extends for about half a mile, the loose sand creates a lot of friction for the tires. The vehicle starts to lose speed because of the friction and this helps slow down and stop the vehicle. This barrier is especially handy when driving a big rig that has lost its brakes. Because of the weight they carry, it is often impossible to stop those vehicles without causing severe damage to it.
Car manufacturers have discussed the possible modifications they can design to make their vehicles safer. Some brands like Volvo and Mercedes Benz have even become famous for the level of safety their cars have. These innovations are often expensive, which leaves them out of reach for the most part of the population. A very cheap way car companies have found to try to make their cars safer, is to use more lightweight materials that are usually cheaper. The problem is that they are not very safe and are regarded as being a form of money saving that puts people’s lives in danger.
Other options have come in the form of designing safer highways. But how do you do it? And, how do you make it something affordable for the population? There are many designers that believe that by making special modifications to existing barriers, you can help save thousands of lives and doesn’t involve a lot of money. This form of redesign has been present for a long time.
Take our current pedestrian traffic light. When it came out, it only featured the three colors that we all know. The problem was that yellow light. People had no idea how much it lasted. So, people would see the yellow light thinking that they still had time to cross the street from one side to the other. When they were about midway, they saw how the light would change to red, leaving them in danger.
By only adding a timer and a ‘moving man’, they made this great invention even better. I recently saw another barrier that is in serious need of a make-over. It’s the common roadside barrier. You know, the one that keeps you from going out of the road? Well, some South Korean engineers have found a way of making a simple modification that is already saving thousands of lives. This is something you must see to believe!