speed bumpsLove them or loathe them, speed bumps are part of our road system.  But are they the best traffic calming method?

Speed bumps are commonly used to enforce a low speed limit (around 25 mph).  They might be good at keeping speed limits low but can cause problems such as traffic noise, damage to cars and slow down emergency vehicles. They also are a hassle to sports cars (plus others with low ground clearance), cyclists and motorbikes.

Types of speed bumps

In the UK we have four different types of vertical deflection in highways:

  • Road humps (round topped)
  • Speed tables (hump with long and broad central plateau)
  • Speed cushions (raised portion of road with flat top over only part of the carriage way’s width)
  • Rumble strips (restricted to retail parks and rural areas because of the noise)

 Car damage

One in five drivers have experienced car damage from speed bumps with an average repair bill of £144.

Car drivers can claim for damage if the speed bump is larger than the legal requirement (no higher than 100 millimetres) but it is more difficult than claiming for pothole damage.

The most common type of damage is tyre related – damage to the inside shoulders (damage can’t be easily seen) can lead to blowouts on high speed roads. Other issues include suspension issues (broken springs, shock absorbers having to be replaced), damage to steering and vehicle sumps (can wreck engines and cause dangerous oil spillages).

Speed bump safety

Since cars can be damaged by speed bumps, what can be done to avoid this?

There are things that the local authorities can do:

  • Keeping within the stipulated safety regulations
    • No vertical face of more than 6mm
    • No more than 100mm high
    • No narrower than 900mm
  • Clear signage – warning drivers to slow down significantly
  • Lighting – ensure that the speed bumps are clearly visible to drivers by:
    • placing at least three street lights (no less than 38 metres apart) near the speed bumps on the highway
    • provide lighting specifically for the speed bump (reflectors/cats eyes, lamps either side of the hump)

There are things that drivers can do too.  Driving slowly over speed humps can avoid damage to  your car.

NB if you are driving regularly over speed cushions then you can increase wear on the inner should of your tyres.  Get this checked out at your next service.

Other traffic calming methods

Speed bumps aren’t the only way to slow down traffic.  Local authorities also employ the following methods:

  • 20mph speed limits – by lowering speed limits you shouldn’t need to introduce other traffic calming measures
  • Road humps (sleeping policeman) – used to stop vehicles from speeding up rather than trying to slow them down. Often found in residential areas but not suitable for bus routes!
  • Lane width restrictions – using traffic islands or road markings gives the impression of a more narrow road and reduces speeds
  • Interactive signs – these detect the oncoming traffic speed and flash up the speed they are doing (if exceeds the limit) or a smiley face if below the limit

If your car has been damaged by a speed bump, call us on 020 8340 0656 and we will fix your car for you.

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