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PREDICTING OCCUPANT RISK INDICATORS FOR FRONTAL IMPACTS WITH REDIRECTIVE CRASH CUSHIONS

Burbridge, A, Naish, D, Troutbeck, R (Peer reviewed)

Driver Psychology / Human Factors

ARSC conference 2015

Crash cushions are devices deployed on the road network in order to shield fixed roadside hazards and the non-crashworthy ends of road safety barriers. However crash cushions vary in terms of configuration and operation, meaning that different devices may also vary in terms of ability to mitigate occupant risk. In this study, data derived from crash testing of eleven redirective crash cushions is used as the base input to a numerical procedure for calculation of occupant risk indicators Occupant Impact Velocity (OIV), Occupant Ridedown Acceleration (ORA) and longitudinal Acceleration Severity Index (ASI) for a range of simulated impacting vehicles (mass 800 kg to 2,500 kg) impacting each crash cushion at a range of impact speeds (18 m/s to 32 m/s). The results may be interpreted as demonstrating firstly that enhanced knowledge of the performance of a device over a range of impact conditions, i.e., beyond the crash testing, may assist in determining the crash cushion most suited to a particular application; secondly that a more appropriate conformance test for occupant risk would be a frontal impact by a small (light) vehicle travelling parallel to and aligned with the centreline of the crash cushion; and thirdly that current documented numerical procedures for calculating occupant risk indicators may require review