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Who Determines Where Those “Reduce Speed Ahead” Signs Are Posted?

February 19, 2016


Traffic and civil engineers have many safety concerns to consider when designing or changing the layout of roads and streets around us. You will often find cyclist and pedestrian safety at the top of their list for every project. One of the ways to address this concern is with speed reduction, formerly known as traffic calming. Engineers use physical design—such as the narrowing of roads and installation of speed bumps—to slow traffic down around people and increase their safety around motorists.

Where should Reduce Speed signs be placed? There are many factors to determine where these signs are placed on the road. The primary factors include the speed amount being reduced and how far away the signs can be seen by motorists. Additionally, road design, vehicle speed, road alignment, and roadside developments also determine where these speed reduction signs are placed.

A majority of the speed-related signs are placed in driveways, on roads in residential and city-center areas, as well as a variety of other places where a high population of pedestrians can be found. It is rare to find a Reduce Speed sign on the highway unless there is an accident where temporary signs are set up. In any case, engineers use their expert judgment to determine where a speed reduction is necessary.

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) amended the Highway Act to categorize the speed reduction signs into a warning sign. Thus, any motorist who speeds where there are speed limits may face significant fines and their driving licenses suspended or revoked.

Placement of Reduce Speed signs. A Reduce Speed sign is set up approximately 100 meters before the driver reaches a speed calming area to warn motorists of upcoming speed limit reductions. Road signs, including the Reduce Speed sign, should be positioned at a maximum practical clearance from the road. The clearance averts cases of vehicles striking the sign supports when they leave the roadway. There are optimum clearances for highways and freeways, as well as urban and densely populated areas.

Traffic engineers work in conjunction with the police to set up speed reduction measures that in turn solve speeding problems. Engineering, education, and enforcement are necessary to make every Reduce Speed sign on the roads functional.

At Zumar Industries, we deliver high-quality speed reduction signs that conform to all federal laws and regulations. Be sure to educate yourself on road sign placement and display your traffic message without any hindrance.

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