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Material properties

Choose your lighting column, with care

Traffic accidents. There are far too many of them. Choosing passively safe lighting columns may not be able to stop accidents, but it can help save lives.

More than 40 years of research into passively safe lighting columns is making the difference between life and death by helping reduce road fatalities.

Passive safety in public spaces refers to the use of lighting columns, signposts, camera masts and other street furniture that doesn’t kill or severely injure the person who drives into it. David Milne, who is a consultant on the topic of passive safety, always points out that you can walk away after an accident.

My area is lighting columns. And of course, the safest column is the best choice, not just for those in colliding vehicles but also for nearby pedestrians. When selecting the safest column, you need to look at a number of factors, such as the particular road situation, the permitted speed, and the presence of other obstacles. It is also important to remember that passively safe lighting columns must be properly maintained to guarantee their performance in the field.

Aluminium's excellent energy-absorption properties make it a preferred alternative to other materials.

Know what you need

There are different passive safety standards around the world. In Europe, lighting columns must comply with the EN 40 standard and a crash test must be conducted in accordance with the EN 12767 standard.

There are also different categories of passive safety support structures and it is important to choose the right classification for different road situations. The three categories are:

High-energy absorbing columns decelerate a vehicle the most, but they also cause the most damage to the vehicle, and this can result in secondary danger for the occupants. This is the best choice where there is a secondary danger or obstacle behind the column, and where there is no crash barrier.

Low-energy absorbing columns usually bend naturally beneath the vehicle during a crash before they break off or are knocked down. This is a cost-effective solution often chosen for country roads.

Non-energy absorbing columns enable the vehicle to continue driving at a reduced speed after a crash. This reduces the chance of occupant injury, but increases the risk of a secondary accident if obstacles such as trees are behind the lighting column. For this reason, this is a column that works well where there is an “empty” background.

Are you still with me? These recommendations will also help you in selecting the right columns:

  • Always ask for a valid certificate that specifies the safety classification and states whether it is based on the most recent standard
  • Check that the certificate has been signed by a notified body
  • Ask to see the applicable test reports
  • Ask to see the report of the mandatory low-speed test
  • Ask to see the collision movies of the official crash tests to observe secondary effects which are not covered by the performance class (like roof deformation of the car)
  • Compare the local foundation situation with the test foundation
  • Make sure the columns are installed carefully
  • Keep the “external” shear off constructions clean
  • Follow the column supplier’s maintenance recommendations
  • Choose the column type that best suits the relevant road or road situation
  • Make sure the columns are regularly checked for degradation effects such as corrosion

Interested in learning more?

If you are interested in learning more, then please contact us and we will put you in touch with the right expert.