Speed bumps: a necessary evil or a preventable cause of damage?

Speed bumps and car damage

One in five drivers have had their car damaged by speed bumps, new research has revealed.

In a survey by comparison website confused.com, 22 per cent of motorists said the speed reduction measures in place in the UK had harmed their cars – with the average cost of a repair being £141.Some 48 per cent of those affected suffered damage to their tyres, and 33 per cent found the speed bumps had damaged the suspension.

So are they one of the great evils of modern motoring?

Also known as sleeping policemen, speed bumps were introduced in the UK in 1983, and there are now 29,000 of them on our roads.

There's no doubt that speed bumps’ effect on cars can be pretty serious, depending on their size, how fast you hit them and how low your car is. Hitting a hump at speed can cause similar damage to your tyres as a pothole can – both can cause a structural failure of the tyre. Models with low suspensions, such as sports cars, are particularly at risk.

Like most speed reduction measures, they are often criticised by motorists who say they are not always easy to see and can cause damage even if driven over carefully.

Yet in confused.com’s poll of 2,000 drivers, only two in five said speed bumps caused too much damage to cars – and only 28 per cent said they should be more clearly signposted, which leaves a clear majority of drivers who aren't taking issue with them.

Most tellingly of all, 19 per cent of drivers admitted they didn’t slow down for speed bumps – which is coincidentally similar to, and in fact slightly lower than, the proportion whose cars were damaged.

Can I claim compensation if my car is damaged by a speed bump?

Yes, sometimes. confused.com also made a Freedom of Information request to find out how much councils had paid out to drivers for damage caused by speed bumps. The figure was £35,000 across the UK between 2015 and 2017, which sounds a lot, but is only around 250 successful claims – fewer than one per county per year.

You would usually need to prove that the speed bump is illegal, for example the wrong size or in the wrong place. The Highways (Road Humps) Regulations 1999, which are available online, set out the rules speed bumps need to comply with.

Virtual speed bumps: the future?

Some London roads have introduced virtual speed bumps – two-dimensional optical illusions which involve black and white patterns painted onto the road, making it look like there is a bump when it is actually flat. Whether they are more widely adopted remains to be seen.

Here at Carwise Group, we deal with all manner of car maintenance needs, from minor repairs to regular car servicing. If you’ve fared badly on the roads and need our car repair services, pop down to our Maidstone and Harlow dealership and we’ll get it performing at its best again.