Speed Bumps: A Comprehensive Guide

asphalt speed bump

When you’re driving a passenger vehicle, you probably don’t enjoy the sight of asphalt speed humps and bumps coming up. They make you slow down when trying to get somewhere, or you might have a rough moment of riding that can damage your vehicle. However, if you own or manage a property where you need to slow traffic down, then road speed bumps and humps can help you increase safety for both vehicles and pedestrians.

Even if you don’t have a road on your land, you can use parking lot speed bumps to manage traffic and prevent accidents on your property. As this speed bumps guide will show you, they can also prevent pavement damage and noise pollution.

What Is a Speed Bump?

A speed bump is a low raised surface across the travel width of a roadway or pavement. Heights and lengths vary, but they usually feature small spaces on one edge between the device and the closed road so that drainage can happen. Speed bumps go by many names, including sleep breakers and traffic thresholds, and they have numerous purposes:

  • Slow drivers down for improved road safety
  • Prevent road accidents and save lives at crossings and sidewalks
  • Let pedestrians move around the area safely around vehicles
  • Maintain the proper flow of vehicle traffic in garages and parking lots
  • Make it easier for law enforcement to organize and control traffic

Primary Benefits

Speed bumps force drivers to make a decision. If they keep driving at a higher speed than is permitted in an area, they risk seriously jolting themselves and their passengers when they cross the bump. They might even cause significant damage to their car, tires, and suspension. 

The hope is that they slow down to a low speed where there might be a high risk of collision with vehicles and pedestrians. When drivers reduce their speed to an appropriate velocity, the odds of fatalities go down at intersections, roadways, and roundabouts using speed bumps. They also make things safer for pedestrians in areas with high foot traffic who need to cross spaces that cars, trucks, and SUVs also use. Speed bumps also lower the chances of collision between different vehicles, saving lives and damage from careless driving.

Pros and Cons

Speed bumps serve a purpose, but they’re not perfect. You should know their benefits and drawbacks before installing them on a property you own or manage.


  • Easy to install and remove
  • Reduced vehicle speeds save lives and prevent accidents
  • More affordable than alternative traffic-calming techniques
  • Collisions that do happen are less severe


  • Emergency service vehicles might be slowed down
  • Increased air and noise pollution
  • Inconvenient to cyclists in residential areas
  • Unsightly aesthetics can reduce property values

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you still have questions this speed bump guide hasn’t answered yet, or do you need a refresher? Check out what others have asked before you.

What are asphalt speed humps and bumps for?

Whether they’re parking lot speed bumps or road speed bumps and humps, they’re designed to get vehicle traffic to slow down. That improves safety for everyone involved, be it pedestrians, passengers, and drivers. Vehicles passing over them should reduce speed to 5 mph for safety.

Who invented them?

Traffic calming may have started in 1906 in New Jersey with the advent of raised pedestrian crossings. These were several inches above the roadway pavement, so vehicles had to slow down where people were crossing. The modern speed bump that isn’t wide enough for foot traffic was invented by a physicist in 1953. Arthur Holly Compton was a university chancellor tired of cars speeding past his educational establishment. For a short time, his invention was referred to as a “holly hump.”

Can speed bumps damage vehicles?

Speed bumps are a threat to tires and vehicles similar to potholes. If you drive across one too fast, there is potential damage to the vehicle you’re in. Tires might get unevenly worn down or misaligned, and suspension issues are possible. Slowing down is crucial to prevent damage and calm traffic.

Where are speed bumps necessary?

Speed bumps should be installed where traffic speeds through and can be a potential hazard to other drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists. Parking lot bumps can help manage traffic and safety in commercial areas and around schools with heavy traffic. Install them where you need to slow down traffic while letting it proceed smoothly and not make actual stops.

What’s different between speed humps and bumps?

Both share the purpose of slowing traffic down, but they’re typically designed differently. A speed hump usually has a lower height and a broader span than a speed bump, and they’re fairly consistent in size on residential streets. Speed bumps might be more common in parking lots and minor roadways with dimensions contingent on their specific application.

Where should speed bumps and humps be installed?

These are useful in any paved area zoned as a low-speed driving space. Such areas might be streets, roads, industrial parks, lots around schools, shopping centers, government buildings, bus stations, hospitals, universities, and community centers. Privately owned driveways, roads, and parking garages can be other potential applications.

Why are they durable?

Many humps and bumps to reduce speed are made of concrete or asphalt. These are designed to be resistant to both chemicals and weather. Reduced wear and tear means they should last multiple years, whether installed for temporary or permanent use.

Southern Asphalt Engineering Inc. Covers Miami-Dade and Broward Counties

If this speed bumps guide has made you realize how useful how asphalt speed humps and bumps could be on a property you own or manage, then Southern Asphalt Engineering Inc. can help you in the Miami area of Florida.

The company has been operating since 1998 helping municipal governments and commercial and industrial clients alike with the installation, restoration, and maintenance of road speed bumps and humps. Work with a staff with more than a half-century of cumulative experience working with parking lot speed bumps and speed-management features on private streets. Other services include curbing, sidewalks, parking lot striping and accessories, brick pavers, and ADA compliance. Get an estimate for your next property project.

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