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An attenuator is a truck used to create temporary road signs for construction emergency situations. On some roads, vehicles are speeding by at 70 miles per hour or more. This can be particularly hazardous in a work area. That’s why these trucks are so helpful to road crews and drivers. They make both the roadways and workplace safer.
The purpose of these trucks is to help prevent accidents and to save lives. You may also hear them referred to as an impact attenuator or a crash cushion. They help to warn motorists of roadwork and lessen the amount of damage caused in the event of an accident by absorbing the impact and cushioning the blow. Though it is the hope that these vehicles will direct drivers away from work scenes and toward the correct traffic pattern in order to prevent accidents, they are also there to serve as a barrier.
Attenuators can be actual vehicles or they can be more portable or temporary structures. Truck-mounted attenuators, for example, are attached to the back of vehicles that are susceptible to rear-end collisions. Such vehicles include maintenance trucks used in road construction and snow plows. Attenuators use different types of materials to absorb force from a potential collision. They may have barrels or modules filled with sand or water. Newer versions use crushable materials that create a sort of crumple zone, and others might employ use variations of steel as a barrier.