Title:
Highway guard rail warning and delineating device
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A highway guard rail device (10) that warns and delineates through reflex reflectivity of sunlight and vehicle light back to the motorist.

The main body of the device is made of protective coated (24) metal (22) with retro-reflective sheeting (20) adhered to the front surface of the device (10).

The device (10) mounts onto and covers the full vertical height of a W-shaped highway guard rail (28). The device (10) comprises of a relatively flat front face plate (14) and two contiguous convoluted concave protruding ears (12) on either side of the face plate (14). The ears (12) are positioned in the guard rails (28) U-shaped recessed trough (30). The reflective convoluted concave ears (12) and the reflective flat front face plate (14) provide a lateral reflex reflective surface angle of 0 degrees to 180 degrees.

The device (10)is secured to the highway guard rail (28) by sets of opposing fastening tabs (16) which are contiguous part of the main body face plate (14). There are fastening tabs (16) on the top of the device (10) and on the bottom of the device (10). The pair sets of fastening tabs (16) are bent over the top and bottom of the guard rails edge (32) respectively. Cable tie fasteners (26) are threaded and buckled through the opposing sets of fastenings grommet tab holes (18). The cable tie fasteners (26) are pulled tight fastening the device (10) in place and in shape against the front facade of the highway guard rail (28).




Inventors:
Goesel, Keith Charles (Williamsburg, VA, US)
Application Number:
10/266084
Publication Date:
04/08/2004
Filing Date:
10/07/2002
Assignee:
GOESEL KEITH CHARLES
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E01F9/669; (IPC1-7): E01F9/00
View Patent Images:



Primary Examiner:
HARTMANN, GARY S
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Keith C. Goesel (125 North Quarter, Williamsburg, VA, 23185, US)
Claims:

I claim:



1. A warning and delineating device that fits on and fastens around a W-shaped guard rail and includes, (a) a face plate that is formed onto the full vertical height of the guard rails front facade, and (b) a plurality fastening system that secures onto the face plate and annulates the guard rail, and (c) a reflex reflective surface which refracts incidental light, and (d) face plate ears that are laterally omnidirectional in reflex reflectivity from 0 degrees to 180 degrees.

2. The face plate of claim I of said device has a flat surface central main body that abuts onto the front facade of the W-shape guard rails upper and lower horizontally parallel bumpers and has two protruding convoluted concave ears on either side of the central main body that position into the recessed U-shaped trough which runs horizontally in the middle of the W-shaped guard rail.

3. The device of claim I conforms to the W-shaped guard rails upper and lower salient slope with bendable fastening tabs to hold the face plates conformity

4. The reflective surface of claim I is bonded to the front side of the face plate and is to be the department of transportation approved specification.

5. The main body of the device of claim I is made of flexible exterior grade metal with a protective coating to inhibit weather and ultra violet light corrosion.

6. The face plate of claim I of said device has an omnidirectional form with refractory angle of 0 degrees to 180 degrees that is made up of a flat center main body and two 90 degree convoluted concave ears that are attached contiguously on the left and right side of the face plate.

7. The device of claim I can be of any longitudenal length with the appropriate plurality of fastening means.

8. The device of claim I can be used for signage in the manner of words or forms applied on the front face plate.

9. The fastening means for the highway guard rail warning and delineating device annulusly engages the guard rail in a plurality clamping system.

10. The clamping system in claim 9 includes; (a) main body face plate (b) a plurality of fastening tabs which are contiguous to the face plate and are in opposing sets on the face plates upper and lower edges. (c) fastening tab grommet holes (d) cable tie fasteners

11. A method for forming and applying the warning and delineating device on to highway guard rail. (a) providing said face plate is in flat condition and accompanied with cable tie fasteners, and (b) bending down the fastening tabs and the ears 90 degrees on a straight edge surface, and (c) compressing said face plate flatly on to the front side of the guard rail said ears will slide outwards and form a convoluted concave structure in the said guard rails U-shaped recessed trough, and (d) bending the fastening tabs to secure said face plate on to the said guard rail upper and lower parallel edges, and (e) threading the cable tie fasteners through the opposing fastening tab grommet holes, and (f) buckling said cable tie fasteners pulling taut until said face plate is secured tightly around said guard rail.

Description:

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

[0001] Not Applicable

FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH

[0002] Not Applicable

SEQUENCE LISTING OR PROGRAM

[0003] Not Applicable

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

FIELD OF INVENTION

[0004] This is a multi-directional warning, and delineating device which attaches onto highway guard rails to warn motorists of the location, boundary, and progressive shape of the highway guard rail, and by sighting the device motorists can maneuver their vehicles in a safe manner on the highway.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0005] Departments of Transportation throughout the country and world erect highway guard rails to protect motorists from driving into dangerous topography.

[0006] The continuous guard rail is made of galvanized steel and contoured into a general W-shape. It is horizontally installed on vertical wooden and/or metal posts. A longitudinally extending “U” shape recessed trough is provided between the upper and lower bumper or guide portion of the guard rail.

[0007] These guard rails are erected along curved roads, clover leaf entrances and exits, approaches to bridges and along areas of dangerous topography that are adjacent to the highway. Guard rails are also used in parking facilities, airport areas, maritime industries, and in many other areas and industries. These highway guard rails need to be visible and delineated for the safety of the people in and around the vehicles by these highways.

DESCRIPTION OF PRIOR ART

[0008] There are several visual warning and delineation methods and each of these do a specific but limited job.

[0009] (a) The highway delineator, Pat. No. 4,224,002 Heenan, which fits in the guard rail middle channel, is small in size and limited in performance by its flat surface reflectivity. Its size is a small truncated triangle. It is adhered by a two sided tape which does not stick well to exterior surfaces, especially a galvanized metal surface, that is unpredictably rough and that by nature has moisture condensation properties. Thus the highway delineator falls off of the highway guard rail and is frequently seen broken or crushed by the side of the road.

[0010] (b) The contrasting market panel for highway guard rails and the like, Pat. No. 4,000,882 Penton, which also fits in the U-shaped middle channel of the highway guard rail is a long flat narrow surface area. Its front facing surface is flat and parallel to traveling traffic. Thus it has little visual reflective properties to most traffic which is also parallel to the guard rail.

[0011] The angled sides, which are at a static angle towards oncoming traffic, are flat in surface and then only visually reflect towards the oncoming traffic a small amount of time. This length of time of visual reflectivity is dependent on the motored vehicles angle of approach, speed, and the angle of the reflective surface.

[0012] Method of adhering to the guard rail is release paper adhesive. This is basically double sided tape. This tape is not a long term or durable security method. The guard rails rough texture, and the metals' propensity to condensation make this application method of securement poor.

[0013] (c) The highway barrier structures, Pat. No. 3,214,142 Brown, also is made to fit in the U-shaped recess trough of the highway guard rail. There are four embodiments indicated in the patent's drawings.

[0014] Two embodiments are flat in surface and small in size and thus have a very poor duration of time and size of visual reflective ability for the motorist. The other two embodiments are convex semicircles. These are also small in size to fit the limited trough size of the guard rail. The convex semicircular design shape, spreads the oncoming motorists headlight beam and reflects that beam of light outward away from the motorists eye view. This is exactly opposite from what needs to be accomplished. Method of application is nut and bolt to the guard rail. Since there are not many open holes on highway guard rails, the nut and bolt system of erecting the guard rails must be used as a dual purpose with the reflector above. This is time consuming, costly, and isn't practical for departments of transportation installation personnel.

OBJECTS AND ADVANTAGES

[0015] Accordingly, several objects and advantages of my invention are:

[0016] (a) to provide for the motorist a large size reflective surface for better guard rail identification. This is accomplished by encompassing the entire height of the highway guard rail with a flat surface that curves around the bottom bumper, flatly past the U-trough and curves around the upper bumper of the guard rail. This large flat reflective surface is easily seen on curved roads and clover leafs. This does delineate and warn the motorist.

[0017] (b) to provide for the motorist a multi-directional reflective surface which laterally spans from 0 degrees to 180 degrees. This is accomplished by two convoluted concave ears which fit into the recessed U-trough of the guard rail, one of them on the approaching side of traffic from 0 degrees to 90 degrees, then followed by the large flat reflecting surface from paragraph (a), then followed by the second convoluted concave ear of 90 degrees to 180 degrees.

[0018] (c) to provide for the motorist better seen and longer duration of time reflective surface. This is accomplished by the convoluted concave ears of the device. The concave shape works like any other concave product or item, such as a satellite dish. Large amounts of omnidirectional sound waves or in this case, light rays are redirected inward in this process. A large spread of light rays from sunlight or a motorists headlights are concentrated inward by the concave shape and then redirected back to the motorist. The concave shape continues to redirect the light back to the motorist as the motorists angle of approach changes. These concave surfaces have an increased level of concentrated light over flat angle or convex shapes and are omnisided from 0 degrees to 90 degrees.

[0019] (d) to provide a high strength body for many years of use without maintenance. This is accomplished by using exterior grade metal with a protective coating on both sides. The manufacturers limited lifetime warranty is 20 years of use in exterior weather enviroments.

[0020] (e) to provide a durable fastening system. This is accomplished by the use of cable tie fasteners which are threaded through grommet holes in the fastening tabs of the main body, buckled and pulled taut until the face plate is secured tightly around the guard rail. The cable tie fastener and the metal body of the face plate make a durable annulus structure around the guard rail.

[0021] (f) to provide for the motorist an excellent reflective surface. This is accomplished by using departments of transportation approved specification retro-reflective sheeting with adhesive backing. This product shall be adhered to the front surface of the device. The manufacture warrantees their retro-reflective sheeting for 10 years of use in exterior weather conditions.

[0022] (g) to provide a fast, and easy, and economical method of application to the guard rail. This is accomplished by these steps.

[0023] step 1. The invention starts out flat accompanied with cable tie fasteners.

[0024] step 2. Bend down fastening tabs and two ears 90 degrees on a straight edge surface.

[0025] step 3. Compress device into front of the guard rail. The two ears will slide outwards into the recess of the guard rails U-shaped trough as the faceplate flattens against the rail. Bend the fastening tabs to secure the face plate to the guard rails upper and lower parallel edges.

[0026] step 4. Thread the cable tie fasteners through the opposing sets of fastening tab grommet holes, buckle the cable tie fasteners and pull taut to secure.

[0027] This method of application can be accomplished quickly. This is fast, easy, and economical for the customers labor force. This is especially economical when considering that the invention will last for years.

[0028] (h) to provide a device which will stay usable in all weather conditions. This is accomplished by using products and systems from previous paragraphs (d) and (e), and also by engineering the invention to accept in and purge out water in all its stages. The device has gap areas on the sides to let rain, dew, condensation, trickle out or run out quickly. These same gap areas also handle ice, snow, sleet, and the thawing of ice, snow, sleet. The metal body with protective coating and the retro-reflective sheeting and the cable tie fasteners are products that are durable in all weather conditions and ultraviolet light.

SUMMARY

[0029] The described invention is a warning and delineating device which attaches to the full vertical front facade of a highway guard rail, has lateral omnidirectional reflex refractive angle of 0 degrees to 180 degrees, and has an annulus means of fastening which is quick for application to the guard rail and durable for years of operation.

DRAWINGS—FIGURES

[0030] FIG. 1 shows a perspective front view of a section of a highway guard rail with device attached.

[0031] FIG. 2 shows a perspective rear view of a section of a highway guard rail with device attached.

[0032] FIG. 3 shows a perspective front view showing a cut-a-way of the device in pre-application flat condition.

[0033] FIG. 4 shows a cross section of the body of the device.

DRAWINGS—REFERENCE NUMERALS

[0034] 1

10highway guard rail warning device
12ears
14face plate
16fastening tab
18fastening tab grommet hole
20retro-reflective sheeting
22metal body
24protective coating
26cable tie fasteners
28highway guard rail
30U-shaped trough
32guard rail edge
34upper bumper
36lower bumper

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

[0035] The preferred embodiment of my device, the highway guard rail warning and delineating device 10 is illustrated in FIG. 1, front perspective view, and FIG. 2, rear perspective view.

[0036] In FIG. 1 the center body is made up of the face plate 14. The face plate 14 has two connecting convoluted concave ears 12 on either side.

[0037] In FIG. 2 the top and bottom of faceplate 14 have three each contiguous fastening tabs 16. Each fastening tab 16 has fastening tab grommet hole 18. The fastening tab grommet holes 18 are used to thread and buckle the cable tie fasteners 26 through them. These cable tie fasteners 26 along with the flexible metal body 22 make a strong and durable annulus fastening system onto the highway guard rail 28.

[0038] FIG. 3 illustrates a cut-a-way perspective view of the device 10. The flexible metal body 22 has a protective coating 24 to guard against corrosion and ultraviolet light damage. The protective coating 24 is also a binding surface to the retro-reflective sheeting 20.

[0039] FIG. 4 illustrates a cross section of the device 10. Illustrated is the flexible metal body 22 with protective coating 24 on both sides. Binding to the protective coating 24 on the front side is retro-reflective sheeting 20.

Assembly of Device

[0040] The device is applied to the guard rail. The manner of application and use are as follows. These are the steps in the forming and application of the device to a highway guard rail.

[0041] step 1. The device 10 starts out flat as illustrated in FIG. 3. accompanied by cable tie fasteners 26.

[0042] step 2. Bend down the fastening tabs 16, and the ears 12, 90 degrees on a straight edge surface.

[0043] step 3. Compress the face plate 14 flatly onto the front side of the guard rail 28. The two ears 12 will slide outwards and form a convoluted concave structure in the U-shaped recessed trough 30. Bend down the fastening tabs 16 to secure the face plate 14 over the guard rail upper and lower parallel edges 32.

[0044] step 4. Thread and buckle the cable tie fasteners 26 through the opposing fastening tab grommet holes 18. Pull the cable tie fasteners 26 taut until the device 10 is tightly fastened to the guard rail 28.

Operation of Device

[0045] The operation of the device 10 with front surface retro-reflective sheeting 20 that is formed into two 90 degree convoluted concave ears 12 on either side of face plate 14. The face plate 14 conforms to the top and bottom of the guard rail 28. The faceplate 14 is a relatively flat body with convoluted concave ears 12 protruding into the recessed U-shaped trough 30. This forms the device 10 into a lateral omnidirectional shape with reflective capabilities from parallel to perpendicular of the guard rail 28.

[0046] A person approaches the device 10 and guard rail 28 from any lateral angle of 0 degrees to 180 degrees. Incidental light from the sun, the persons vehicles headlights, or any other light source is reflected back to alert the person of the location of the device 10 and the guard rail 28.

[0047] Multiple devices 10 spaced at regular intervals will delineate a guard rails 28 progressive shape. The metal body 22 along with the cable tie fasteners 26 make the device 10 capable of operating for years without maintenance as a warning and delineating device 10 during daylight and most importantly in night, and inclement weather conditions.

[0048] Conclusion, Ramifications, and Scope

[0049] Thus the reader will see that the highway guard rail warning and delineating device is highy efficient with lateral reflex reflective surface angle from 0 degrees to 180 degrees, durable for years of operation, easy to assemble, a superior method of fastening, and years of guard rail warning, delineation and safety of vehicular traffic.

[0050] While my above description contains many specificities, these should not be construed as limitations on the scope of the invention, but rather as an exemplification of one preferred embodiment thereof. Many other variations are possible. A caution device of similar but different shape and size can be made to fit highway bridge rails or cable barriers which are in use where highway guard rails are not being used along road ways. Also, a warning and delineating device used at parking facilities, airport areas, and in the maritime industry to mark the position of pier pilings, bridge pilings, and any other structures near or by waterways.

[0051] Accordingly, the scope of the invention should be determined not by the embodiment illustrated, but by the appended claim and their legal equivalents.