Speeding is a serious matter. It is a common cause of crashes on Canadian roads. The faster a motor vehicle is moving, the less time the driver has to react to any hazard on the road. This increases the likelihood of a crash, injury or death.
The risks are particularly high for users such as pedestrians and cyclists, which have a large presence in suburbs and urban areas. With so many speeding-related accidents that occurs, safety measures should be put in place. One effective way to do this is through traffic calming.
Traffic calming is a set of safety measures in traffic education, enforcement, and engineering that aims to reduce vehicle speed without restricting access, improve road safety, and enhance safety for pedestrians and motorists. Applying traffic calming measures on streets has many benefits, including :
- Decreasing noise and air pollution
- Lessening through traffic
- Prevention of crime
- Improvement of property value
- Promotion of urban redevelopment
- Saving lives
Traffic calming devices are helpful tools used to enforce these safety measures. They are fixtures added to streets to physically reduce the speed of vehicles or stop them completely. They include road safety equipment such as:
A speed bump is a raised pavement area across a roadway and is generally three to six inches high with a length of one to three feet. Typically found on parking lots and private roadways, these temporary road bumps can slow vehicles to 5 mph or even to an abrupt halt at each bump. They are a temporary and cost-effective solution to control traffic speed especially in residential areas and school zones. Speed bumps also deter unnecessary traffic, encouraging drivers to choose alternative routes.
Speed humps are the most traditional type of traffic calming device. They look like speed bumps but are much wider. Unlike speed bumps, speed humps encourage vehicles to slow down without having to do a complete stop. This makes it easier to build them over bigger traffic calming projects. These parabolic-shaped raised devices help bring speeds down to between 10-20 mph, making them ideal for residential neighbourhoods and areas where cycling is encouraged.
These slows traffic the way speed humps do, only they are larger in size. Speed tables have a flat top with ramps on either sided and are mainly used on roads that pickup or collect pedestrian like in school zones.
Traffic circles slow down drivers at intersections because all vehicles coming all directions must yield to traffic already inside the circle. These employ the same rules as roundabouts, but are meant to slow traffic and are only used on local roads. The middle of a traffic circle can be landscaped or made with coloured asphalt to increase visibility.
These traffic calming tools help ensure that vehicles stop at the designated location when parking, making them ideal for parking lots, grounds, garages and municipalities . They also prevent the chances of a vehicle rolling forward from a parking spot or over driving through the designated area. Use them to control curb overhang that may be hazardous to pedestrian, or use them as barriers to separate passable and impassable areas for motorists.
Traffic signs are essential in slowing and managing the volume and flow of traffic entering areas with traffic calming measures. ‘Keep Right’ signs are very crucial at traffic circles and curbs , while signs that display the speed limits help remind motorists of maximum allowed speed. This helpful guide will aid you in selecting the correct traffic signs for your area.
These effective traffic calming tools have greatly increased road safety and have significantly decreased accidents in areas where they are carried out. But it’s not enough that these safety measures are in place. We should still do our part to improve safety on our roads by following allowed speed limits and getting rid of distractions such as talking or sending out texts on cell phones while driving.
Practicing courtesy to drivers and pedestrians, paying more attention to laws and rules, and being more aware of your surroundings will make a big difference in your life and the lives of others. Road safety is everyone’s responsibility, and it’s time to do your part in keeping our roads safe.
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