Speed bumps are transverse ridges that serve to calm traffic in areas where it’s safest to have vehicles travel at a slow rate of speed. Usually seen in residential areas, speed bumps slow traffic down to 5 to 10 miles per hour (mph) as vehicles must slow down in order to safely drive over them. Driving over a speed bump at a higher rate of speed can be damaging to vehicles and can be very jarring to the passengers in the vehicle. Explore the benefits and disadvantages of speed bumps.
Speed Bump Pros
Speed bumps are traffic-calming features that are very successful in slowing down traffic, hence why they are called “sleeping policemen” in other countries. Benefits of speed bumps include:
- A safer roadway. Speed bumps slow down traffic in residential areas, meaning pedestrians and bike riders are less likely to be involved in a collision with a vehicle.
- Fewer vehicle accidents. Slower traffic also means fewer vehicle accidents. Additionally, those accidents that do occur are generally minor as both vehicles are more likely to be traveling at a slow speed.
- Improves speed limit compliance. Speed bumps are effective at slowing down the speed of vehicles, so other options for speed limit compliance, like traffic lights or a police presence, are less likely to be needed.
Speed Bump Cons
Not everyone is a fan of speed bumps, however. Speed bump critics maintain there are disadvantages to having speed bumps in a community. These include:
- Speed bumps also slow down emergency vehicles. Firetrucks, ambulances, and police cars also have to slow down for speed bumps, too, meaning it takes longer for them to respond to emergencies. However, most emergency responder vehicles are better equipped than civilian vehicles to handle going over speed bumps at a higher rate of speed.
- Speed bumps are unsightly. Usually, speed bumps are painted bright yellow and include road signs so drivers are not surprised by them. Some argue that this makes speed bumps an eyesore that can lower property values.
- They increase congestion. Speed bumps create congestion during periods of high traffic volume. This means more air pollution, noise pollution, and inconvenience for those living in and traveling through areas with speed bumps.
While speed bumps may cause inconveniences or mar the look of a smooth roadway, they do increase the safety of an area. In the end, the benefits of speed bumps vastly outweigh the disadvantages.
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