What is a speed bump?

A speed bump is a traffic control device that is put transversely, following the width of the road or as appropriate.

You will often see this traffic-calming accessory lying on the roadway surface while driving through the school zone, work zone, parking lots, or area near a crosswalk. It is long and mound-shaped, with black and yellow slashed stripes.

Speed bumps are frequently mistaken for speed humps. Although they appear to be the same at first glance, they are not.

A speed bump is more aggressive than a speed hump since it has a higher mound. If the vehicle’s speed is reduced to 10-15 mph by using a speed hump, the speed bump can lower the vehicle’s speed to 2-10 mph or practically to a stop.

Do you want to know more about this topic? We also have an article to discuss everything about speed bumps.

A black and yellow rubber speed bump used as a traffic-calming measure.

The history you don’t know about speed bumps!

Let’s learn something about the history of speed bumps.

The history of the ancient Roman city of Pompeii indicates that this traffic-calming device stretches back thousands of years, long before the motor vehicle was invented.

They were buried when Mount Vesuvius erupted. However, history discovered evidence of this amazing event owing to the excavation of the heap.

The streets of Pompeii

Long before we knew the design of the curved speed bump as we know it today, it was built in 1906. This concept has been used by the city of Chatham in the United States.

They used paving and cobblestone to elevate the crosswalks 5 inches above the road surface. Whether they like it or not, automobiles had to slow down, especially while passing pedestrian crossings.

It is proven that these traffic breakers are more effective than other traffic signals, such as speed signs, traffic cones, and even stop signs, in reducing speeding.

On the other hand, the initial speed bump model in Chatam is extremely harmful to the neighbourhood, particularly for motorists. As a result, the innovation continues.

In 1953, history recorded a “traffic control bump” that was just discovered by a renowned physicist and Nobel Prize Winner, Arthur Holly Compton.

Arthur Holly Compton, the inventor of modern-day speed bump.

If you want to know more about the inventor of speed bumps, feel free to check here: Who invented speed bumps?

He came up with this brilliant concept due to a bad experience he had while working in St. Louis, Missouri. At the moment, he was completely distracted by several automobiles passing Brooking Hall too fast. This high-speed vehicle has been involved in several fatalities.

On the other hand, with the help of his great knowledge and abilities in the field of physics, he could generate a double and a single protrusion on the first inclined side. He built it to be 7 inches tall with an almost flat top.

However, as expertise in the field of traffic engineering has advanced, the speed bump has taken on its current parabolic appearance.

3D drawing and side view of a speed bump.

This is the most effective way to avoid crashes, particularly for emergency vehicles such as ambulances and fire trucks. Accidents can be avoided if drivers do not obey the speed limit signs and signals.

Finally, in the 1970s, speed bumps came in and were introduced on European roads. It was only in 1983 that speed bumps were officially used in the UK.

Even today, more than 42,000 speed ramps have been installed in the country, according to UK traffic data.

Learn more: The history you don’t know about speed bumps!

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      Different names for speed bumps!

      Many countries across the world refer to these speed limit tools as “speed bumps.”

      Several countries, however, refer to it by different names. Other names for speed bumps are listed below.

      A black and yellow rubber speed bump to reduce speed.
      • Sleeping policeman in the UK
      • Judder Bar, in New Zealand
      • Speedbreaker, in India
      • Road turtles in Southern US
      • Ralentisseur, in France
      • Silent policeman
      • Traffic threshold
      • Rumble Strips

      There’s a reason for each of the other names given to this traffic control tool, and they all have something in common.

      For example, why is this speed limit tool referred to as a speed breaker in India? It’s because this device is used to lower the vehicle’s speed.

      Then there’s the phrase “sleeping policeman.” What’s the backstory of the name?

      Why are speed bumps called sleeping policemen?

      This term was first introduced in the United Kingdom’s territory. I’m not sure who first mentioned it or why this term was coined in the first place.

      Many people believe that the sleeping policeman is just another term or a lovely English expression for a speed bump that has been purposefully designated.

      However, the term “sleeping policeman” refers to a police officer who is sleeping on the road. Why is the phrase “policemen” used? Because traffic police are in charge of controlling traffic and enforcing traffic laws.

      Similarly, the speed bump works as a traffic management tool and strengthens the speed limit sign function.

      A sleeping policeman, and two black and yellow speed bumps used as traffic-calming measures.

      How to make a speed bump?

      As previously stated, these speed reduction tools are constructed of asphalt, concrete, rubber, plastic, or metal. They will then be linked according to the road width when they are put on certain road sections.

      Meanwhile, for asphalt and concrete speed bumps, the first step is to determine the speed bump requirements depending on the width of the road.

      Keep a close eye on the proportions of each component. Place two planks parallel across the road, spacing them 6-9 inches apart, indicating the width of the speed bump.

      Then, carefully pour the asphalt or concrete mixture into the space between the boards. Then, wait for it to dry.

      Concrete road bumps to reduce speed.

      The top 5 frequently asked questions about speed bumps!

      The presence of speed bumps on the road often creates pros and cons. Speed bumps often raise a lot of questions.

      Here are 5 frequently asked questions about speed bumps and their brief answers.

      Question 1: Why should we install a speed bump?

      Answer: To reduce vehicle speed effectively and improve the safety of all road users, including property owners.

      Traffic speed bumps on the road to improve the safety of all road users.

      Question 2: Is speed bump truly effective?

      Answer: This device has been proven to be effective in reducing vehicle speed and enhancing pedestrian safety in several areas, such as parking spaces, pedestrian crossings, school crossings, and intersection areas.

      A black and yellow speed bump on the road.

      Question 3: How can I install a speed bump on my road?

      Answer: In short, you can’t just go out and build speed bumps on your own, but you can make a request to the appropriate country authorities such as the federal highway administration or police officer.

      However, they cannot do this on the spur of the moment. The state should investigate the situation to see if it is indeed an issue.

      Question 4: Are speed bumps bad for the environment?

      Answer: In fact, speed bumps can cause air pollution. However, this can be minimized by using a quality recycled rubber speed bump that meets standard dimensions.

      Question 5: Why are rubber speed bumps better?

      Answer: Due to the soft and flexible rubber material, it can reduce noise pollution. In addition, rubber speed bumps’ advantages are mainly durable, portable, long-lasting and resistant to bad weather conditions.

      They are also quick and easy to install and are suitable for most types of driveways.

      Black rubber raw material and two rubber speed bumps, one of black and yellow, one of black and white.

      Speed bumps regulation in the UK

      This traffic-management device is constructed of various materials, including asphalt, concrete, plastic, metal, and rubber.

      High Way Regulations by the Department of Transportation in the United Kingdom specify that they come in sizes ranging from 25mm to 100mm in height. This tool’s maximum slope is ten per cent.

      Yellow and black speed bumps are not installed on public roadways; instead, they are put in a specific location with a high concentration of pedestrians and bicyclists.

      For example, petrol stations, universities, residential neighbourhoods, and parking lots. Its goal is to warn motorists and enforce traffic safety.

      Although speed bumps on the road benefit highway safety, they may have disadvantages for motorists, especially if police enforcement is lax. Therefore, we need a warning sign or speed limit sign a few meters before these sleeping policemen.

      Because, after all, calm traffic and slow zones are very much needed by bicyclists when cycling on the bike lane and by pedestrians when walking on the curb.

      Black and yellow road bumps used to reduce speed as traffic-calming tools.


      A speed bump is a traffic calming measure that slows down vehicles as they travel through particular locations such as school zones, parking lots, work zones, and bicycle lanes.

      These traffic control tools have a distinctive form and are computed using precise engineering calculations, usually by transportation engineers, making them safe for any vehicle to pass through.

      This traffic safety accessory has a very long history and numerous names.

      Understanding the definition of speed bumps and other facts about their history, nomenclature, and construction methods can help you better understand speed bumps and their advantages.

      Similarly, if the speed ramps are not built to satisfy the required regulations, a warning is issued, notably for highways in the United Kingdom.



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