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Impacting Safety

Improved rear impact guards are making trailers safer


Safety is the responsibility of every company that rolls equipment onto the road. Today's safety offerings - from collision mitigation technology to improved rear impact guards (RIGs) on trailers - are making highways and byways safer. In the case of Great Dane's thoughtfully redesigned RIG30 rear impact guard, the company went beyond the current safety standards to ensure that its trailers - reefers, dry vans and flatbeds - were among the safest on the road. 

The RIG30 protects both personnel and impacting vehicle, in the event of a centered impact, but also extends safety out across the horizontal length of the guard to help mitigate vehicle under ride and other collisions. 

Great Dane approached its redesign by looking at the whole guard and attachment as an entire system - developing and testing more than 60 iterations, which included both structural and material improvements. It was a lesson in energy absorption and structure strength, as an impact at a single point on the guard impacts the entire structure of the trailer. 

The result was the new RIG30 that sports a fundamentally-changed horizontal member, vertical guards with deepened reinforcements and secured attachments, strengthened materials throughout, and tweaks to the guard's geometry to meet and exceed both American and Canadian trailer rear impact standards. 

RIG30 will be standard on all Great Dane trailers beginning in late 2017. Taking safety even further, the traditional bolt-on design of the RIG30 will allow Great Dane to offer a retrofit option for 2007 and later model trailers. No other trailer manufacturer offers a retrofit back to 2007 models. 

Great Dane recently received the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's (IIHS) new TOUGHGUARD award, which recognizes rear underride guards that are designed to prevent a range of deadly underride crashes. These include three test modes: full-width, 50 percent overlap and 30 percent overlap. The IIHS is known for its stringent vehicle safety testing. 

"We are happy that our new rear impact guard has passed the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's 30 percent overlap test and received the TOUGHGUARD award, in addition to having previously passed the full-width and 50 percent overlap tests," said Chris Lee, vice president of Engineering. "More importantly, however, we are glad that our trailers now provide an additional level of safety for those on the road."