When you’re on any highway, you’ll notice that there are normally guardrails. Some opponents of these devices argue that they can make crashes worse, but they have a real job to do, too. Guardrails are there to keep vehicles on the road, to prevent them from going down into ditches or over the sides of ledges. Good guardrails can make a difference in saving lives.

A recent crash in Colfax has shown why these are so important. A Dec. 11 news report showed a semitruck that was carrying multiple vehicles hit a guardrail on U.S. Highway 195. That crash stopped the truck from going over the side of an embankment and stopped a potential roll-over crash.

How important are guardrails?

Guardrails are important for cases like the above, but they’re also important for pedestrian safety. Did you know that guardrails create a safety barrier between vehicles and other vehicles or pedestrians? They are there to help protect you from abrupt changes in elevation and to mark the edges of paths or roadways.

Guardrails do have a downside, though. Depending on where your vehicle hits it, you could be injured by metal that impales your vehicle. The railing tends to stop your vehicle, but if you hit it directly on the end, or if the guardrail was damaged in the past, it could cause significant damage to your vehicle and may not work as intended.

No matter who hits you, if you’re hurt by a guardrail, you may have an additional personal injury case against the manufacturer or anyone who didn’t replace a damaged guardrail after a reasonable period of time.