Keeping Traffic Safe An Overview of Jersey Barriers

Keeping Traffic Safe: An Overview of Jersey Barriers

The Importance of Traffic Safety

Every year, millions of people are injured or killed in motor vehicle accidents. The importance of traffic safety cannot be overstated. That’s why municipalities and transportation departments around the world work tirelessly to find ways to keep roads and highways as safe as possible.

One of the most effective ways to improve traffic safety is through the use of barriers that physically separate opposing lanes of traffic. These barriers, often referred to as “Jersey barriers,” are a common sight on highways and other busy roads.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at what a Jersey barrier is, how it works, and why it’s so important for keeping traffic safe.

What Is a Jersey Barrier?

A Jersey barrier is a modular concrete barrier used to separate lanes of traffic. The barrier is named after the state of New Jersey, where it was first developed in the 1950s.

Jersey barriers are typically L-shaped, with a flat top and sloped sides. They are designed to be easily transported and installed, and can be quickly assembled and disassembled as needed.

The primary function of a Jersey barrier is to prevent head-on collisions between vehicles traveling in opposite directions. By physically separating the lanes of traffic, the barrier helps to reduce the risk of serious accidents and injuries.

Jersey barriers are also used in a variety of other applications, including as crowd control barriers at events and concerts, as protective barriers around construction sites, and as noise barriers along highways.

How Do Jersey Barriers Work?

Jersey barriers work physically separating opposing lanes of traffic, making it difficult or impossible for vehicles to cross over into the other lane. The sloped sides of the barrier are designed to redirect any vehicle that strikes it, preventing it from crossing over the barrier and into oncoming traffic.

Jersey barriers are typically made of reinforced concrete, making them extremely strong and durable. This durability is important, as Jersey barriers are often subjected to high-impact collisions.

In addition to their primary function of separating lanes of traffic, Jersey barriers can also help to absorb the impact of a collision, reducing the severity of injuries to vehicle occupants.

Why Are Jersey Barriers Important?

Jersey barriers are important for several reasons. First, they help to reduce the risk of head-on collisions between vehicles traveling in opposite directions. These types of collisions are often very serious and can result in fatalities and life-changing injuries.

Jersey barriers also help to reduce the risk of collisions between vehicles and other objects, such as trees and guardrails. By providing a physical barrier between the vehicle and the object, the barrier helps to absorb some of the impact and reduce the severity of injuries to vehicle occupants.

Additionally, Jersey barriers can be used to control traffic flow and reduce congestion on busy roads. By separating lanes of traffic and providing designated lanes for turning or merging, Jersey barriers can help to improve traffic flow and reduce the risk of accidents.


Q: How tall are Jersey barriers?

A: Jersey barriers are typically between 32 and 42 inches in height.

Q: How much do Jersey barriers weigh?

A: Jersey barriers can weigh anywhere from 4,000 to 10,000 pounds, depending on their size and construction.

Q: Are Jersey barriers the same as K-rails?

A: No, K-rails are a similar type of barrier, but they are smaller and lighter than Jersey barriers. K-rails are typically used for temporary applications, such as construction sites and events.

Q: Can Jersey barriers be painted?

A: Yes, Jersey barriers can be painted with reflective paint to increase visibility and improve safety.

Q: How long do Jersey barriers last?

A: Jersey barriers are designed to last for many years with proper maintenance. The lifespan of a Jersey barrier will depend on factors such as the environment in which it is used and the frequency of collisions.


Jersey barriers are an important tool for improving traffic safety on highways and other busy roads. By physically separating lanes of traffic, these barriers help to reduce the risk of serious accidents and injuries.

Whether you’re a driver, a pedestrian, or a construction worker, the importance of traffic safety cannot be overemphasized. By understanding how Jersey barriers work and why they are important, we can all work together to make our roads and highways as safe as possible.

For more information on Jersey barriers and other traffic safety measures, visit the web page for the Federal Highway Administration.