Shop Talk Logo

What’s the Deal With Speed Bumps?

speed bump caution sign Speed bumps: every driver’s least-favorite traffic control device. Any time there is a chance where people on foot are in the vicinity of cars, their safety is a concern. Areas such as schools, playgrounds, and parking lots are especially dangerous for pedestrians in the presence of aggressive driving. One way to prevent tragedy in these areas is with speed reduction. Lower speed limits paired with speed bumps can greatly reduce the chance of an accident or a fatal incident. Speed bumps and speed humps are actual bumps in the road specifically made to slow drivers down and if those drivers go too fast over them, it can be quite an uncomfortable feeling and may cause damage to the vehicle over time.

What Is the Difference Between Speed Bumps and Speed Humps?

Speed humps are often used in areas where the speed varies between 10 – 15 MPH. Often found in residential areas or connecting roads, where traffic is meant to flow smoothly but higher speeds place pedestrians in danger. A speed hump produces a rocking sensation when a car drives over it at a reasonable speed. Speed humps come in many shapes and sizes and can affect the feeling of discomfort produced from a fast-moving vehicle. Speed humps are also found in a series to aid in maintaining a safe speed through a long passageway.

Speed bumps are a more aggressive form of traffic management and are also used in places where pedestrians and cars are present, such as driveways and parking lots. Speed bumps are intended to slow drivers down to 2 – 10 MPH making areas nearby safer for pedestrians. While speed bumps can range from between two to four inches high, they are narrower than speed humps. When paired with their height and travel distance, the result creates a sudden bounce in the vehicle. Speed bumps are far more uncomfortable to go over in comparison to speed humps and are used in smaller areas with less traffic but are pedestrian-heavy.

How Should I Travel Over a Speed Bump?

You’ve probably been witness to some creative driving to avoid the speed bump. But is there a “right” way to go over a speed bump? Should you take it one wheel at a time, on the diagonal, or just go slow? How fast should you drive over speed bumps? The answer is simple. Just go slow—about 3 MPH is ideal. It’s not any better for your vehicle to go over speed bumps at an angle, even if your vehicle happens to be lowered. Either way, you risk scraping the underside of your car. The best and most comfortable way to go over a speed bump is to accelerate moderately or avoid braking when going over the bump. When you brake, the front end of your vehicle is lowered while accelerating lifts it. Slow down, release the brake before the bump, once you reach the top of the bump, accelerate. The straighter your vehicle is while going over the speed bump, the better.

Why You Shouldn’t Speed Over Speed Bumps

Speed bumps and humps are intended to slow vehicles on the road, neighborhoods, and parking lots. When you hit a speed bump at a high rate of speed, it’s the same as striking every part in the car with a hammer. While cars are built to withstand some abuse on the road, the more frequent and harder the strikes are, the sooner those parts begin to wear. Don’t make a habit of flying over speed bumps, no matter the size of your vehicle. Constant hits also cause unpleasant rattles and squeaks, loosening and even dropping parts along the way. Going over a speed bump very slowly is very easy on your car. This allows the springs and shocks to gently compress to absorb the bump and decompress properly.

Safe Roads for All

Speed bumps and speed humps are useful and encourage safe driving, especially in pedestrian-heavy traffic. Speed humps are ideal to keep traffic moving at a reasonable speed and speed bumps in areas where pedestrians and vehicles share the roadway. Both are easier to maneuver and less intense in comparison to one-way streets and roundabouts. Speed humps and speed bumps are only a nuisance when traveled over incorrectly. Drive slowly and safely over speed bumps and humps to protect your vehicle from damages and for the safety of others.