Do speed humps work?

Traffic control devices such as speed humps, speed bumps, speed cushions, speed tables, traffic barriers, and traffic cones control the movement of pedestrians, motorists, buses, cyclists, and bicyclists. They are installed in specific areas where traffic needs to be guided about speed-limits and other regulatory laws.

Municipalities and officials install them in areas where pedestrians and speeding vehicles have a close interaction. Common areas where you can find traffic calming tools are roadways, roundabouts, city streets, unsafe parking lots, pedestrian crossings, school zones, and work zones.

You must have known what is a road hump. Speed humps are used as a part of traffic calming measures. They are similar to road humps in many ways, but both are still unique in their own way. People often wonder whether a road hump works or not. If you too have the same query, keep reading the article to get an expert answer and have your query resolved.

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How does a speed hump work?

Speed humps have a raised rounded surface that creates a hurdle on roadways. A motorist, cyclist, or bicyclist cannot go over them smoothly without reducing their vehicle’s speed. In this way, these speed control tools effectively impose speed-limit rules and make drivers travel at low speed in a pedestrian zone, slow zone, work zone, and school zone.

Speed humps are installed on roads where vehicles should travel at around 30 miles per hour (mph) or even low speeds. You can use them on both public and private roads for temporary and permanent traffic management needs.

If you run a parking lot where vehicles are parked in a congested area and pedestrians walk in close proximity to them, you should provide safety to your parking lot users by installing speed humps, bollards, parking signs, and sign-posts. These traffic safety devices will tell drivers where to stop or drive at low speed without damaging property or injuring people.

What are different types of speed humps?

Speed humps are designed while keeping in mind different pedestrian safety and traffic safety needs. They are manufactured in different sizes, colours, and materials, so users can select the speed hump type that suits their individual speed reduction requirements.

Speed humps can be categorised into different types based on their construction material. Enlisted below are their common types.

Recycled plastic speed humps

As the name indicates, these speed humps are made up of recycled plastic. They are light and durable, making their installation easy for all. Plastic speed humps have reflective tapes and other elements that help drivers view them even when they are far from them.

Rubber speed humps

Rubber is a soft material compared to asphalt or concrete. Due to this reason, rubber speed humps may not be as effective as asphalt or concrete speed humps are, but they lower vehicular damage and also produce less noise when vehicles drive over them.They are light, tough, durable, and inexpensive compared to hard materials. They are also almost maintenance-free, so you will not have to worry about maintaining their shape and structure from time to time.

Asphalt or concrete speed humps

These speed bumps are very hard, meaning they offer nearly zero flexibility. They also produce more noise. However, they are considered more effective in helping people follow speed limit rules.Concrete speed humps need to be painted if you want to enhance their visibility. The paint may fade over the years. So you will have to repaint them to maintain their functionality.

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Do speed humps damage the vehicles?

Traffic calming techniques and tools like street signs, regulatory signs, speed ramps, variable message signs, wheel stops, rumble strips, and traffic signals have many benefits, but some of them also pose a few disadvantages.

Speed humps slow down vehicles in a driveway, roadway, crosswalk, pedestrian crossing, and street parking to prevent collisions, crashes, and fatalities. They make people drive at a slow speed in high pedestrian traffic areas to avoid unfortunate events.

Speed humps should be installed in areas where drivers can see them easily. Still, sometimes, due to the negligence of the driver or wrong selection of the speed hump location, the driver travels over this tool at high speed, jarring the vehicle badly. If this keeps happening with the vehicle, then its internal parts can get damaged over time.

Similarly, if the height of a speed hump is more than the permissible height, it may hit and damage a car’s bottom.

Speed humps also pose a tripping hazard. When it is installed in a dark area where pedestrians walk often, people may not see it and get tripped over it.

Take these precautions when installing speed humps

The above-mentioned disadvantages of the speed hump, speed bump, and speed cushion can be avoided if you take certain precautionary measures.

Remember these precautions when you are planning to install speed humps around a school crossing, roundabout, motor-vehicle lane, or any other area.

  • Install speed humps on levelled roads because a sudden change in ground height can make a speed hump higher, leading to vehicular damage.
  • Rubber and plastic speed humps are likely to cause less damage to the vehicle’s tires. Rubber compresses under pressure, and plastic sustains the damage instead of damaging the vehicle. Concrete and metal speed humps are not flexible; hence they damage the vehicle. You should select rubber or plastic speed humps if you are concerned about your vehicle’s health.
  • Display warning signs, speed signs, traffic control signs, or stop signs beside traffic lanes, bike lanes, or sidewalks to inform drivers about the placement of speed humps. You can also put a flashing reflector on the raised section of the speed hump to make it more prominent.
  • Speed humps get hidden under stormwater or snow, causing inconvenience to drivers when they suddenly detect them. Place road signs to avoid this issue and make drivers aware of the speed hump’s presence.
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Can I get speed humps installed in my area?

Yes, you can get speed humps installed in your neighbourhood by informing your local municipality about the high risk of passenger-car collisions or crashes in your area.

You will have to get a petition signed by people living in your area. You may also have to get permission from some officials before sending an application to the municipality.

The municipality will then evaluate your case and check if installing a speed hump will actually help your neighbourhood or not. They will install a speed hump only if your neighbourhood meets their criteria.

Conclusion

If you have noticed dangerous driving or vehicular accidents in your neighbourhood, installing speed humps can help you create a safe environment for all.

Speed humps and other traffic control tools perform their function very well by slowing down speeding vehicles in high-risk areas. But remember that they can become dangerous if their placement is not correct.

You should install a speed hump in an area where both pedestrians and drivers can see it clearly when it is within their sight distance. It should be placed above an even road, and its dimensions should be according to your local speed hump regulations. You can also install a warning sign on the sidewalk to warn the approaching vehicle’s driver about the presence of a raised section.

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