Complete Guidelines and Information on Speed Breakers on Road


Speed breakers are constructed to reduce speed on roads to prevent accidents. According to the statistical data available with the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, as many as 4,700 people died in the year 2017 because of the improper speed breakers on various national and state highways.

Every year many people die on road accidents due to their negligence or by careless attitude of others. 18 November, is celebrated as the day for Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims. With proper knowledge and patience, the number of deaths on road can be reduced to a substantial amount.

There are traffic signals put on road sides to ensure safety of people on road. Also, they tell the driver to drive safely by following the rules. One common cause of accidents is not following speed breakers that are constructed on roads to limit the speed.

Here is my list of observation with speed breakers

  • Speed breakers are back breakers most of the time.
  • How many times did it happen to you that there is no speed bumps in the busy roads and in some areas, where there is not requirement of any speed breaker, you can come across many ramps in a few metres of distance.
  • Some speed humps are just like roller coaster rides.
  • Some others are raised to so much height that the vehicle with sufficient ground clearance would scrap of its bottom.
  • Some speed breakers are not even coloured for easy demarcation from a distance, you need to push hard to apply sudden breaks. I have seen vehicles skidding and colliding with the vehicle in front, especially two wheelers, in an attempt of sudden breaks.
  • Frequently, the nails protruding out of plastic bumps are a major hazard for two-wheelers and cyclists.
  • I really don’t get ideology behind small speed breakers that constructed in  continuous rows with no fixed number of rows. Vehicle literally bumps off the road.

To my surprise, guidelines do exist in the form of laws  in our country. However, rarely, the workers who are constructing speed bumps and even their supervisors aware of these guidelines. As per Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)Central Road Research Institute (CRRI), only 5% of speed breakers on main roads, and none of those on smaller roads, follow guidelines in Delhi.

These guidelines are provided by the Indian Road Congress (IRC) and the Unified Traffic and Transportation Infrastructure (Planning and Engineering) Centre.

Where should be Speed Bumps Constructed ?

Ideal locations for construction of speed breakers are :

  • T- intersections on minor roads with  relatively low traffic volumes but very high average operating speed and poor sight distances.
  • Intersections of minor roads with major roads, and mid-block sections in
    urban areas where it is desirable to bring down the speeds.
  • Selected local streets in residential areas, school, college or university, campuses, hospitals, etc. Also in areas where traffic is observed to travel faster than the regulated or safe speed in the area.

Other places where we can use Speed Breakers

  • Accident prone area
  • Approaches to temporary diversions
  • Approaches to weak or narrow bridges and culverts
  • On the minor arms of uncontrolled junctions and at railway level crossings 5. Sharp curves with poor sight distances
  • Places of ribbon development, where road passes through built-up areas and vehicles travelling at high speeds are a source of imminent danger to pedestrians
  • Level crossings, manned or unmanned at all type of roads

Dimensions of Speed Breakers

  • As per IRC-99 (Indian Road Congress)  guidelines, a speed breaker should have a radius of 17m with a width of 3.7m and a height of 0.1m. This is calculated to reduce the speed of the vehicle to 25kmph.
  • Central Road Research Institute have  come up with a code for speed breakers at various speeds speed. Dimensions of speed breaker will be change depending upon the desired decrease in the speed of the vehicles
  • In certain locations, speed breakers may have to be repeated over a section to keep speeds low throughout.
  • The distance between one hump to another can vary from 100 to 120 meter centre to centre.

 Construction Material used for Speed Breakers

Breakers should be constructed by Bitumin, which has longer life and allows for smoother landing of vehicles. Most speed breakers, however, are made of plastic and PVC which wear of quickly within time period of 5 to 6 months adding to extra cost.

Placement of Warning Signs for Speed Breakers 

  • Drivers should be warned of the presence of speed breakers by posting suitable advance warning signs.
  • Warning signs should be placed about 100 meters before the hump or 50 meters in case of low-speed road.

The Number of Speed Breakers

Number doesn’t really matter, but the ones that are made should be done properly.

Placement of Speed Breakers

  • At ‘T’ intersections, speed breakers should be installed on minor roads; or perpendicular arms about 10 meters away from the inner edges of major roads.
  • Proper sign boards and markings are required to be provided at such locations.
  • Speed breakers should be extended through the entire width of  road supported on a proper base.
  •  On bridges, speed breakers should not be provided. However, accidents prone have  bridges or curvey and narrow bridges, either approach must have two speed breakers each.

Marking on Speed Breakers

  • Speed breakers should be painted with alternate black and white bands yo give additional visual warning
  • For better night visibility, It is desirable that the markings are in Iuminous paint /luminous strips.
  • Embedded cat-eyes can also be used to enhance night visibility.

What Should be done if you want to Construct a Speed Breaker? 

Source: Website of Delhi traffic police

  • If a stretch of road becomes accident prone for some reason and the local residents want to get a speed breaker constructed, an application may be sent to DCP/Traffic (HQ), New Delhi.
  • On receipt of the application, it is analyzed from traffic point of view and recommendation is sent to Speed Breaker Committee which decides the construction or removal of any speed breaker.
  • This committee consists of representatives of MCD, NDMC, PWD, CRRI, Traffic Police and concerned residents welfare association.

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