Improving Road Safety One Crash Attenuator at a Time

Whether we like to admit it or not, more and more drivers are distracted on our roadways. While we can change legislation and increase enforcement, the traffic safety industry is taking a different approach to do its part. Two words: Crash attenuators.  

What is a crash attenuator?

Crash attenuators are innovative traffic safety systems used to protect stationary roadside hazards like medians, concrete barriers, and guardrails. When impacted, they are designed to absorb kinetic energy and safely bring moving vehicles to a complete stop. 

There are two types of crash attenuators:

  1. Non-redirective, gating crash attenuators allow vehicles to pass through the system, acting as a gate. 
  2. Non-gating, redirective crash attenuators prevent vehicles from passing through, safely absorbing head-on impacts. Non-gating systems are often anchored to the ground to provide stability. 

Crash attenuator applications

Crash attenuators come in all shapes and sizes to accommodate temporary or permanent situations. They utilize technology like crushable cartridges, steel cables or absorbent material like sand to dissipate energy and prevent injuries to vehicle occupants. Here are a few examples:

Water-Filled crash attenuators are often used as temporary systems in construction zones. They are filled with either water or sand and can be easily repositioned to accommodate project needs. 

QuadGuard M10 is a redirective, non-gating crash attenuator most often used in permanent applications. It is anchored into place in front of stationary structures like bridge pile caps. This system is available in a “wide” set-up to shield hazards up to 69 inches wide. 

Reach 350 II is a redirective, not-gating crash attenuator used in temporary and permanent scenarios. This system is unique due to its potentially reusable high density polyethylene cylinders offering minimal maintenance and repair costs. 

Learn more about crash attenuators

Regardless of the system and its application, crash attenuators have changed the game for roadside safety and continue to save lives on roadways around the world. Learn more about crash attenuators at

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