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Where to Place a Reduce Speed Sign

June 24, 2019

Speeding on the highway is something many drivers engage in until they are reminded by a reduce speed sign to slow down. Once a driver has gotten a speeding ticket it makes them think twice about paying attention to their speedometer. Here are places to install signs to influence slower speeds to make a community safer.

Freeway Endings

Not all freeways go on forever, as some come to dead ends or empty onto city streets. Of course, no freeway just suddenly ends without warning (if you manage signage correctly). It’s advantageous to install a series of signs that warn drivers the freeway ends in a certain number of miles. Drivers must be able to see the sign day or night from several hundred feet away. These signs work best when accompanied by yellow caution signs with blinking yellow lights. Speed reduction signs themselves are now considered warning signs, which is why they are yellow and diamond-shaped.

Slower Traffic Areas

Another reason for posting a reduce speed sign is when a large street with heavy traffic leads drivers to a more quiet residential neighborhood, particularly one where school children play. It’s helpful to include the speed limit ahead so that motorists know how much they should slow down. Sometimes industrial zones are planned next to residential zones and there is an area where speed must be reduced to maintain a peaceful, relaxed atmosphere, which can be part of a small town or community’s identity.

Engineering Concerns

Speed reduction signs should also be placed where engineers have determined driving safety depends on slower speeds. Wet weather conditions may be a reason to warn drivers to slow down, especially in areas with a history of flooding or mudslides. The road may be paved a certain way at an angle that is not conducive for maintaining the posted speed limit. In some cases the road may need to be repaved if it becomes too worn and full of potholes. A reduce speed sign can also be effective near road work, where detours may be forged by local officials.

Sign locations are often determined from engineering studies, based on current traffic control conditions and metrics such as Average Daily Traffic (ADT) for a particular road. These studies involve monitoring traffic, taking photos and drawing traffic condition diagrams.

Traffic Jams and Accidents

Sometimes highway officials may need to place temporary reduce speed signs where an accident has occurred, to funnel traffic into certain lanes while closing off lanes affected by the damage. When traffic is abnormally heavy they may decide to use these signs for traffic control purposes at bottleneck locations. Cities that hold big events near stadiums often use these signs to prevent accidents and encourage better traffic flow.


The reduce speed sign is useful in various locations where it’s necessary to alert drivers to slow down. In some cases multiple signs are needed to prepare drivers for an eventual dead end. Even better, a driver feedback sign can remind drivers to compare their current speed against the posted limit. Contact us at Zumar at our Arizona, California or Washington location to learn more about where placing these signs is most effective.

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