Imagine you’re driving down the road and you see a car hit the side of a trailer being pulled by a semi-truck; is the driver going to survive the crash? That’s the question the IIHS has been presented with recently and with two extremely different versions of the same type of item that’s added to some trailers the goal was to learn if this item is built to help save lives or it’s an item that is meant for a completely different aspect of working for the trailer and not meant for safety at all.
These two underride guard items were both tested with cars traveling at 35 mph. On one of the trailers the item was a simple fiberglass side skirt, which is the typical item you see on the road. This feature is installed to help improve the aerodynamics of the trailer which is certainly something that makes a difference and can be an important part of what these trailers need to be able to add some efficiency to the semi-truck as it drives down the road, but this item isn’t meant to do anything to help save lives at all.
The second underride guard that was installed for the drive and the test is one called an Angel Wing, which is made by Airflow Deflector Inc. This device is specifically made as an underride protection device to offer some protection for the possibility of a crash. It also offers the aerodynamics that are needed to ensure trailers help improve the fuel mileage of a truck that the trailer is attached to in order to give the best of what this item can be on the road, especially once you see the results of the two tests.
As you watch the tests in the video below you’ll see that these two items performed extremely differently. The fiberglass shield gave way and the vehicle went under the trailer without the safety items ever engaging and the possibility of a safe crash instead of one that would likely be fatal. In fact, during this video you’ll see the fact that the top of the car is ripped off by the trailer and would most likely decapitate the person inside that’s driving the car or at the very least this would be a fatal crash.
The test with the Angel Wing showed completely different results. In this test the car crashes into the metal of the wing and this shield doesn’t allow the vehicle to pass under the trailer. Because this doesn’t allow a vehicle to ride under the trailer the safety items such as the airbags and the crumple zones are engaged and this allows the driver of the car to live. The roof doesn’t get ripped off and the worst that could happen is the possibility of a few minor injuries. This may be enough of an argument to have these AngelWing shields installed on every single trailer that’s being pulled on the road.