What is the Difference Between a Speed Bump and a Speed Hump?

What is the Difference Between a Speed Bump and a Speed Hump?

Speed humps differ from speed bumps. The two words rhyme and serve a similar purpose, but they are not one in the same. Both are raised sections of pavement that stretch across a road and may be placed at certain intervals. Additionally, both are used to slow down traffic and reduce cut-through traffic.

So, what are the differences? For one, a speed bump is smaller and harsher, and requires vehicle traffic to slow down more to safely navigate over. On the other hand, a speed hump is wider and provides more of a gentle slope, so it is less harsh and can be taken at 3x the speed. Instead of a big bump in the road, a speed hump creates more of a gentle rocking motion.

Speed humps are engineered to cut down vehicle speed to around 15 miles per hour. Vehicles must decrease speed to around 5 miles per hour to safely navigate over a speed bump. Speed humps are used more widely than speed bumps. Speed bumps are generally only used for residential neighborhoods and parking lots.

The Speed Hump

Speed humps are commonly used to slow down traffic in residential areas and cut-through streets. By adding these humps in the road, you can physically control the speed that vehicles travel through an area. Additionally, speed humps help reduce cut-through traffic as people are less likely to cut through a street outfitted with speed humps.

According to National guidelines, the maximum height for a speed hump is three to four inches, and the maximum length is between 12 and 14 feet. Speed humps are specially designed to reduce traffic speed to a certain level without presenting a greater risk of accident or vehicle damage. Well-designed speed humps can even reduce the number of auto accidents that occur on a street.

The Speed Bump

Speed bumps are more abrupt when you drive over them. As a result, there are more restrictions when it comes to applying them to roadways. For the most part, speed bumps are used on private roads and parking lots.

The average height of a speed bump is between 3 and 6 inches; they are typically one to three feet long. If someone drives over a speed bump at a high rate of speed, there’s great risk for vehicle damage to the suspension, and/or loss of control. Also, it is rather uncomfortable for a driver to hit a speed bump if they are going over 5 miles per hour. 

When & Where to Add Speed Humps

Typically, an engineering study is applied to determine which roadways will benefit from the addition of a speed hump. Speed humps offer an answer for local neighborhood(s) and the city when it is necessary to lower vehicle speeds or reduce cut-through traffic.

Factors to consider when adding a speed hump:

  • What type of winter maintenance will be required? Will snowplows and emergency response vehicles still be able to navigate roadways?
  • Speaking of emergency response vehicles, keep in mind that each speed hump can decrease response times. Some cities refrain from adding speed humps along certain roadways designated as emergency vehicle response routes.
  • Don’t forget to add street signs and/or pavement marks that warn of speed humps in the road to keep everyone safe.

Are you considering adding speed bumps or speed humps to a specific road? We are more than happy to help you decide upon the best option. Contact us today to learn more and get a quote.