Is Your Vehicle Too Juiced to be Stopped by a Guardrail?

Car accident

Infrastructure. Roads, bridges, pipelines…and also the guardrails and medians on those roads.

Things we don’t even think about—unless our vehicle is sent careening toward a steep dropoff or headed toward the oncoming lanes.

Most people assume these concrete medians, metal guardrails, and other apparatuses on highways and roadways are designed to stop motor vehicles from disastrous consequences like falling into a ravine or flying into ongoing traffic.

Well, they were designed to do that. When motor vehicles were the size of a smaller-sized elephant.

Now, many vehicles we drive are double or triple that size.

And the infrastructure can’t handle it.

Are Electric Vehicles the Culprit?

According to crash-test research conducted at the University of Nebraska Midwest roadside Safety Facility, electric vehicles (EVs) weigh twenty percent to fifty percent more than gas-powered vehicles. They also have much lower centers of gravity, due to the placement of their batteries. They conducted tests on some of the EVs and the current infrastructure’s ability to do its job stopping them.

The results were rather frightening.

“We knew it was going to be an extremely demanding test of the roadside safety system. The system was not made to handle vehicles greater than 5,000 pounds,” according to Cody Stolle.

Michael Brooks, executive director of the nonprofit Center for Auto Safety, put it this way: “Guardrails are intended to keep cars from careening off the road at critical areas, such as over bridges and waterways. Guardrails are kind of a safety feature of last resort. I think what you’re seeing here is the real concern with EVs—their weight. There are a lot of new vehicles in the larger-size range coming out in the 7,000-pound range. And that’s a concern.”

One test conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Research and Development Center involved a Tesla Sedan (it didn’t specify which model, the Model 3 or Model S), in which the sedan lifted the guardrail and passed under it. So you could slide on ice, careen toward a barrier, and go right through the barrier.


Unintended Consequences

Electric vehicles are increasing in popularity. The charging network and battery life is improving quickly. They are credited with reducing climate change due to not emitting any pollutants.

I own an EV. I love it. I’ve taken road trips and it’s easy, quick, and cheap to charge. It hugs the road. There is virtually no maintenance required. Overall, I’m very happy with my choice to purchase an EV.

But I’m a bit frightened after reading this article, knowing that I might go flying through a guardrail into a ravine.

While many people have raised the issues of how our electric grid can handle the spate of EVs on the road now and in the future, few foresaw the impact on infrastructure they would have.

Now we have a new thing to worry about.

Contact Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Stephen Hoffman

As in all cases involving injury, dog bites or injuries, workers’ compensation, medical malpractice, or other injury and potential liability, if you are involved in a car crash, immediately get medical treatment, report the crash to police and your own insurance company, and contact a lawyer with expertise in your type of case, such as bicycle accidents or pedestrians hit by cars.

If you've been in an accident and have questions, contact Chicago personal injury attorney Stephen L. Hoffman for a free consultation at (773) 944-9737. Stephen has over 30 years of legal experience and has collected millions of dollars for his clients. He is listed as a SuperLawyer, has a 10.0 rating on Avvo, and is BBB A+ accredited. He is also an Executive Level Member of the Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce.

Stephen handles personal injury claims on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay anything up front, and he only gets paid if you do. Don’t wait another day; contact Stephen now.

Categories: Auto Accidents