What’s the purpose of road humps?

Speed has become one of the main causes of road accidents. When you drive at high speed, you do not have enough time to respond to a pedestrian who is crossing a road or to certain road conditions.

As a result, passenger-car or car-car collisions or crashes may occur, damaging vehicles and injuring drivers, passengers, or pedestrians.

To prevent speeding, the federal highway administration or local municipality installs a number of traffic-control and traffic-management devices, including speed humps, speed bumps, speed ramps, bollards, speed cushions, rumble strips, and speed signs.

This article explains why you should install a road hump or other traffic safety tools in your school zone, pedestrian zone, slow zone, and work zone as a part of traffic calming measures.

Do you want to know more about this topic? We also have an article talking about what exactly is a speed hump.

A black speed hump with a car on it.

The purpose of using speed humps

Speed humps are one of the very effective traffic control devices installed by municipalities and property owners to regulate the acceleration of the speeding motorist, bicyclists, cyclists, or motor-vehicle drivers on roadways and city streets.

They have a raised surface. Drivers reduce their speed when driving over this raised surface to avoid hitting this traffic safety tool at high speed. A speed hump can decrease the speed of vehicles from 16 to 30 miles per hour (mph) based on their height. The higher road humps are, the more speed they will reduce.

Speed humps are usually 12 to 15 feet wide or can be as wide as your road. They are considered a good choice for local roads and streets where pedestrian traffic is high, and pedestrian safety is important.

They are used for multiple purposes. Some of the purposes of using a speed hump are explained below.

A black and yellow speed hump is mounted on the road as an effective traffic control device.

Increase the safety of pedestrians, passengers, and drivers

Without traffic cones, wheel stops, road bumps, traffic signs, road markings, road humps, and warning signs, roads and streets stay unsafe for all the people using them.

Therefore, a proper traffic safety plan that focuses on reducing the interaction between pedestrians and vehicles is required in areas where pedestrians and vehicles are in close contact.

Road humps do not let buses, cars, motorcycles, and fire trucks go at high speed when driving over a local road or street.

This way, if a pedestrian encounters a vehicle that is approaching at a low speed, the pedestrian will get sufficient time to move away and avoid a collision with the vehicle.

Traffic data indicates that all traffic safety devices help reduce the number of accidents and associated fatalities yearly.

A black speed hump that can reduce accidents.

Decrease the severity of road accidents

Sometimes accidents are unavoidable, no matter how hard you try to prevent them.

A vehicle that causes an accident while travelling at high speed will produce more impact than a vehicle travelling at a low speed.

When you install a speed table, speed hump, or speed bump around a traffic intersection, crosswalk, street parking, or pedestrian crossing, you inform drivers about the correct speed limit and help them travel at low speed where necessary.

When such vehicles cause accidents, the injuries and damage are less severe compared to when these vehicles hit others at high speed.

A rubber road hump made of black recycled rubber with yellow reflective tapes for traffic safety management.

Maintain and organise traffic flow

In big cities, where the population is growing exponentially, the Department of Transportation and local municipalities must make traffic lanes, crossings, parking lots, and crosswalks safe for everyone.

They need to use traffic management strategies that help keep high-volume city traffic well-organised. This is where speed humps and other traffic maintenance tools come to help.

These tools are used by municipalities on roads, parking spaces, and streets to direct vehicles and tell them the right speed or way of driving in a specific area.

A speed hump sign warning people there's a speed hump ahead.

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    Avoid traffic jams and save time

    When there is no order and maintenance on roads and streets, a traffic gridlock can occur during rush hours.

    This will not only feel frustrating but will also waste your precious time. You may be unable to reach your office, educational institute, or any other destination on time.

    But when there are different road-traffic control tools like traffic barriers, speed breakers, reflective signposts, pavement markings, traffic signals, and regulatory signs displayed strategically, you can prevent traffic gridlock and reach your destination on time without waiting in traffic lanes for hours.

    A speed hump sign warning people there are speed humps around.

    What are traffic control devices?

    As the name suggests, traffic control devices are the tools, signs, and markings used to control, guide, and manage traffic in an area. You can install these devices along or over the roadway or street.

    Some examples of these devices are:

    • Traffic sign
    • Stop signs
    • Parking signs
    • Construction signs
    • Rumble strips
    • Speed ramps
    • Traffic lights
    • Speed cushions
    • A raised section like a speed bump

    The main purpose of these tools is to guide drivers and pedestrians so they can use roads and streets the right way. These tools are designed in different shapes, colours, sizes, and materials – each providing a different function.

    They often have bright coloured paints or reflective elements that help drivers and pedestrians view them from a distance and understand the message quickly.

    Most of these tools are beneficial in multiple ways, but a few are criticised for some of their disadvantages. Some tools like speed humps and speed bumps reduce the emergency-response time of an emergency vehicle like an ambulance or a police vehicle that must reach its destination fast.

    They can also damage vehicles that do not see them and hit them at high speed. Due to this reason, the correct placement of traffic control tools is crucial.

    You must place them in a driveway, sidewalk, traffic circle, asphalt curb, or similar areas where drivers can easily see them and slow down their vehicles on time.

    A traffic sign important to drivers.

    Are speed bumps and speed humps the same?

    Speed bumps and speed humps are two different kinds of traffic control devices used for the same purpose – imposing speed limits and reducing vehicular speed. Despite their same function, they are different from each other in a few ways.

    Speed bumps are not as wide as speed humps are, due to which they make vehicles reduce their speeds to around 10 mph. They are aggressive in their approach.

    In contrast, speed humps are wider, lowering vehicular speed by around 20 mph. They do this rather smoothly compared to speed bumps.

    Speed bumps are used in areas where pedestrians and vehicles are very close to each other.

    Speed humps are installed in places where speed reduction is required, but the traffic still needs to flow smoothly.

    A black and yellow speed bump, and a black speed hump with yellow reflective films to reduce vehicular speed.


    Speed humps are used in areas where high traffic speed poses a risk to pedestrians.

    It guides drivers about the suitable speed requirements in a particular area.

    This way, it helps make roads safe for passengers, drivers, and pedestrians by reducing the risk of collisions between them.

    Speed humps are manufactured in different sizes, colours, and materials so that people can buy the one that best meets their needs.

    If you don’t have speed humps in your area and people here drive their vehicles at high speed, you should request your local municipality to install traffic control devices for public safety.



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