Guide To Speed Bump Types

You’ve probably seen — and felt, all kinds of different speed-reducing surfaces on the road. They all function differently, but have the same goal: getting drivers to slow down.

Bumps, humps, and those things that make your car vibrate when you drive over them are all found on the road these days. You’ve probably seen and driven over quite a few different ones yourself. As you have probably noticed, they all have a different look and feel. Maybe you are thinking about having some installed in your businesses parking lot or driveway, but don’t know what the best choices are. Well, then, you are in luck, read on for Reliable Paving’s guide to speed bumps.

Speed bumps definition

Speed bumps are defined as a “traffic-calming” measure designed to slow down vehicles. They are oft used in residential and school zones, but they will also be found in some commercial/medical areas, construction sites, and anywhere that needs cars to go slowly. They exist to make life easier and safer for pedestrians, cross traffic, drivers themselves, and everyone in general.

In the US, they are about 2-6 inches high and placed crosswise in front of oncoming traffic. Speed bumps vary in wide according to their type and uses. Smaller portable ones will be a few feet up to 6 feet (1.83 m) wide. Some asphalt-poured speed bumps will be dozens of feet wide if they are designed to cross an entire road or parking lot. The length of a speed bump varies as well. On a highway, you might see much longer speed bumps, designed to have an effect on large trucks with more wheels.


Rubber and plastic Speed Bumps

Many speed bumps are not made of concrete or asphalt paving. They are actually high-density rubber or recycled plastic. You have probably seen that type, as they are noticeable thanks to their bright yellow/black color in contrast to the brownish grayish black of the road’s paving.

Ultra-dense rubber speed bumps serve the same purpose of calming traffic with some other serious benefits:

  • They are cheap. They can be ordered online from specialty traffic stores as well as larger sales sites like E bay and Amazon.
  • They can often be installed quite easily, without professional assistance.
  • Rubber and plastic speed bumps are durable. They will last just as long as poured asphalt or concrete speed bumps.
  • Rubber and plastic speed bumps are also versatile, they come in various types.
  • Rubber and plastic speed bumps are a good environmental choice. They are made from either recycled plastic or recycled rubber. The rubber itself often comes from tires, resulting in more efficient fabrication using less resources.
  • Noise is reduced when using plastic and rubber speed bumps. They have a much finer surface than asphalt and thus result in lower frictional noise with the tire.
  • Speed bumps made from rubber and plastic do less damage to cars than asphalt. They won’t scrape or dent the undersides of car that hang low or hit them too fast.


Of course, probably the most common type of speed bump is made from asphalt or concrete. They are typically poured and set on-site, by professional paving contractors.

  • Asphalt speed bumps are easy to install when having the road paved the first time. They can receive the benefits of care for the newly installed road, such as seal coating. Additionally, asphalt speed bumps can have maintenance and repairs performed on them when the road is being cared for as well. They will degrade at about the same rate as the road, making proper maintenance for both quite simple.
  • Because they can be set when the road is constructed, they are often more economical than rubber and plastic, which have to be installed later.
  • Asphalt speed bumps are also often made from recycled materials. Asphalt is one of the most recycled materials on the planet. Almost all new asphalt paving in the US is made from at least partially recycled asphalt.
  • Asphalt speed bumps are easy to customize. Rather than having a single type that can be ordered from the store, they can be made to fit various different dimensions or tailored for specific road conditions.
  • More durable than other types of speed bumps. Obviously, asphalt is harder than rubber and plastic, thus, they will last longer on average.

Types of speed bumps

Temporary/portable speed bumps

These plastic and rubber bumps can be attached to the roadway at the tips and unattached when needed. Because they are usually placed somewhere that doesn’t have them, they are usually brightly colored to alert drivers who will not be expecting speed bumps in that area. These speed bumps also can either be made to fold up or roll up to be more easily transported when not in use.

Reflective speed bumps

Exactly what the name says, these are speed bumps with bright reflective striping. These of course are designed with the goal of slowing traffic and getting the attention of drivers. Places where drivers need to be extra careful, like hospital emergency room driveways, will often employ these traffic-calming measures. Some speed bumps are simply brightly painted over, others may have a reflective plastic element installed.

Oversize speed bumps

Larger speed bumps are often used in slower traffic areas to ensure that the traffic goes down to 5-15mph. They will be placed in alleys or in driveways to make absolutely certain that the driver knows that they need to slow it down.

Black speed bumps

Designed to blend in with the road, black bumps are often made from asphalt, but can also be rubber.

Heavy-duty speed bumps

These 6-inch high bumps are designed for maximum stopping power.

Paving professionals here to help you

If you are on the fence about what speed bumps you need, then why not ask the pros? Reliable Paving has been in the paving contractor business for over 35 years. We know everything from repairing and paving new road to re-striping, maintaining, and of course, speed bump installation. If you aren’t sure what bump is best for slowing traffic in your area, contact us today.