When it comes to offering convenience, automatic driveway gates do as well as their garage door counterparts. Both let you drive right in without getting out of your car. Sadly, many homeowners fail to realize that each of these contrivances can also be equally deadly. If your automated gate dates to 2001 or earlier, trouble could be right around the corner.
A Deadly Trap
Between the years of 1985 and 2001, more than 30 individuals died in automated gate accidents. In addition, about 25,000 others suffered injuries ranging from cuts and bruises to broken bones and amputated limbs. The unsettling fact is that prior to the year 2000, most of these gates lacked the safety features that would have prevented those mishaps.
What Do New Gates Have That Old Gates Don’t?
Thanks to the combined efforts of the Consumer Product Safety Commission and Underwriters Laboratories, the UL325 standard now includes a set of requirements specifically intended to prevent automated gate tragedies. In addition to directives for installation, UL325’s most important mandates include photoelectric sensors, opening guards, and audio alarms.
The biggest safety feature, and one that was glaringly absent prior to 2001, is an automatic sensor to reverse or stop the gate’s motion in the presence of an obstacle. The extreme force exerted by an automatic gate can crush whatever gets in its way. Photoelectric devices will sense the intrusion and reverse the gates before any damage occurs.
A traditional swing on the garden gate is almost a childhood ritual, but where automated devices are concerned, a ride such as this can be deadly. To put an end to this dangerous practice, new standards insist upon the installation of a screen that stretches from the gate’s bottom edge to a height of at least 4 feet. Similar guards installed between and alongside the gates will discourage anyone from reaching through to retrieve a dropped item or activate the controls.
If, while the gates are in motion, two entrapment protectors should activate sequentially, these alarms will alert those nearby that the gates have malfunctioned and that someone could be in danger. This feature alone could help save a life.
To prevent any injury to passers-by, an automatic gate must always open toward the property’s interior. A proper installation will also include a separate pedestrian entrance to thwart attempts at walking through the gate, and homeowners should always be sure to locate manual controls far from the gate’s extended reach.
While the convenience of an automated gate has always gone without question, these modern standards are an essential means of ensuring their safe operation. If you have any questions about your own gate, Overhead Door Company of Portland has answers. To see what you can do to eliminate the dangers of your automated gate, head over to our website for more information or contact us today.