RAC Cars News


Speed Bumps The Latest Target Of UK Motorists' Ire

By raccars Published

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After Britain's pothole nightmare, motorists are growing increasingly angry about the damage being caused to cars by old-fashioned traffic calming systems, such as speed bumps. The damage caused can amount to hundreds of pounds in repair costs.

According to a survey carried out by a national car leasing firm, car owners in areas featuring speed bumps used as traffic calming measures pay on average £250 for repairs to suspension systems, cracked exhausts and damaged trim, far more regularly than drivers in areas where speed bumps are not used.

Brutal speed bumps are an outdated and ill-conceived form of traffic control, which can still be found in urban areas which are yet to see regeneration. In an attempt to slow vehicles down, the speed bumps regularly inflict damage upon residents' cars. A study suggests that the firm's investigations have shown that full width speed bumps are ineffective as a way of slowing down traffic, as drivers tend to slow down for the bumps but speed up before and after.

Last autumn, Warranty Direct published a study showing that speed bumps cause an average repair bill of £247, while some have caused damage amounting to over £1,000. One car in 30 is likely to see its suspension damaged by speed bumps in the same way as by potholes, including even the most robust vehicles.

The study found a number of drivers who blamed traffic calming speed bumps for damage to their vehicles, even if they cross the obstacles carefully. One survey respondent had to pay a repair bill of £500 for suspension damage, while another cracked the car's catalytic converter.

On questioning, councils have blamed excess speed for damage to cars but this is disputed by the drivers.

Some regions use 'smart bumps,' which are smaller raised areas in the middle of the road. These slow cars down but do not affect emergency vehicles or buses. However, low slung cars can still find themselves catching on the central bumps even at low speed.

Chicanes are a sensible option by forcing drivers to pay more attention and think about how they manoeuvre their cars. Used in 20mph zones, they also encourage drivers to keep an eye on the area around them. Lane narrowing programmes and creative parking schemes work in a similar way, to slow drivers down and prompt them to be more aware of their surrounding environment without requiring expensive road engineering.

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