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Traffic Calming – What Is It?

Traffic calming is the practice of reducing speed and changing driver behavior in an effort to increase safety. Traffic calming reduces vehicle collisions and the severity of crashes.

Traffic calming efforts are found in street designs, speed reduction, lane reduction, and designated lanes. While traffic calming can be accomplished in a variety of ways, the goal is the same, increasing safety on the road. To understand how traffic calming works and can save lives, it is important to understand the ways traffic calming keeps our communities safe. 

Street Design

Street design is the most common method of traffic calming. You probably come across this form of traffic calming every day without even realizing it. This method works by changing the way cars travel on roads.

One of the most basic forms of this is pedestrian crossings. We are able to identify that pedestrians may be crossing the street by the painted lines on the road. When drivers see this design, they know that pedestrians may appear and can manage their speed accordingly.

Medians and refuge islands are other ways street designs promote safety. These design choices are not just for pleasing aesthetics. The designs increase safety by allowing pedestrians a safe place to wait for cars to stop.

A less common, but still helpful street design that aids in traffic calming is the roundabout. These circular intersections not only organize traffic but also reduce speed and increase awareness. Drivers must slow down and pay attention when entering a roundabout, and this decreases accidents at intersections. Another benefit of roundabouts is they keep traffic moving.

Speed Reduction

Speeding is the most common problem we all face while driving. Going too fast is dangerous to the speeding driver and all other cars and people near the road. Traffic calming methods implement speed reduction in a few different ways. Of course, there are speed limits, but drivers do not always follow speed restrictions.

speed bump traffic calming measures

Forced speed reduction is sometimes a more effective solution. This can include speed bumps, speed tables, and diversions. These types of physical barriers force drivers to slow down. Speed reduction tactics help save lives, especially in neighborhoods and areas with a lot of pedestrian traffic. 

Lane Reduction

Multiple lanes on city roads can pose a hazard when those roads are shared with others. We’ve all encountered drivers that weave through the lanes like they are competing in a race. This behavior and other dangerous driving habits pose a threat. Sometimes, multiple lanes enable bad driving behavior. Reducing the number of vehicle lanes can improve safety in communities.

Designated Lanes

Some drivers don’t like to share the road with others. Bicycles and joggers anger aggressive drivers. Designated lanes provide a separate space for bicyclists and joggers. Sometimes, designated lanes are protected with physical barriers. Other times, bike lanes are painted. Either way, the goal is the same; to keep people separated from traffic.

bicyclist injury lawsuit

Safety Is Important

As a personal injury law firm, we believe safety is important. Traffic calming measures improve safety. But, safety measures are only as effective as the people that follow them. Car crashes are a major cause of death in the United States, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Reckless driving results in thousands of deaths per year. Traffic calming measures lower these statistics and reduce the number of collisions that happen every day. By implementing traffic-calming measures, we can all enjoy safer communities.

Personal Injury Law Firm

At Haggerty and Silverman, we are here to help you understand your rights and options. If you have been injured, talk to an attorney about your situation. Contact us for a free consultation with an injury attorney.