Global Variations of Speed Bumps

Global Variations of Speed Bumps

Speed bumps are used worldwide, but they are known by different names and come in various designs depending on the country and local traffic safety practices.

Speed Bumps in India

In India, speed bumps are commonly referred to as “speed breakers.” These are often found near schools, residential areas, and busy intersections to control the flow of traffic and ensure safety.

Speed Bumps in Germany

Known as “humps,” these traffic calming devices are prevalent in residential neighborhoods and urban areas in Germany. They are designed to ensure vehicles do not exceed safe speeds, contributing to overall traffic safety.

Speed Bumps in the United Kingdom

In the UK, speed bumps are often called “cushions.” These are designed to slow down cars but allow larger vehicles like buses and emergency vehicles to pass with minimal disruption.

Speed Bumps in France

French roads feature “ralentisseurs” or “dos d’âne,” which are similar to speed humps and are frequently used in residential areas to slow down traffic and protect pedestrians.

Speed Bumps in South Africa

The term “sleeping policemen” is widely used in South Africa to describe speed bumps. This name highlights their role in passively enforcing road safety by slowing down vehicles.

Speed Bumps in the United States

In the United States, speed bumps are a common feature in both residential and commercial areas. They are typically made of asphalt, rubber, or concrete and can vary in height from 3 to 8 inches. Known primarily as speed bumps, they are also sometimes referred to as speed humps or speed tables. These traffic calming measures are effective in reducing vehicle speed, but they can also be a source of noise and vibration. Drivers are advised to adhere to speed limits even in their absence.

Speed Bumps in Europe

European countries have a variety of terms and designs for speed bumps, often called “sleeping policemen.” These devices come in different shapes and sizes, tailored to the specific needs of each area. For instance, rumble strips are used in some European cities to create vibrations, alerting drivers if they are going too fast.

Speed Bumps in Asia

In Asia, speed bumps are known by several names, including “sleeping policemen” and “traffic calming bumps.” They are widely used in residential areas and near schools to ensure vehicles slow down. These bumps can be made from concrete or asphalt and come in various shapes, such as round, flat, or elongated. In some regions, adjustable speed bumps are used, which can be raised or lowered depending on traffic needs.

Speed Bumps in Australia

Australia uses “speed humps” or “sleeping policemen” to describe these traffic calming measures. There are traditional flat-topped humps and extended versions with a raised platform. Additionally, “raised crosswalks” are used to enhance pedestrian safety by combining a speed hump with a pedestrian crossing.


Speed bumps are a crucial tool in traffic management, ensuring safer roads worldwide. Despite their different names and designs, their purpose remains the same: to control vehicle speed and enhance road safety. Understanding these global variations helps us appreciate the universal need for effective traffic calming measures.