South Africa has a high number of road fatalities. Indeed, historical data has shown that for every death because of a vehicle accident on the South African roads, there are 4.6 serious injuries. The road accident figures show that in 2017 alone, more than 280 000 injuries were attributed to road accidents, and many of these were fatal. With such high numbers, the implementation of traffic-calming devices as available from speed ramp suppliers is a welcoming relief for many road users.

With road accidents reported to cost the road network in excess of R164 billion annually, every measure implemented to reduce the number of accidents thus helps the South African economy. Traffic ramps are one of the many products available to improve road safety. Such products are usually available from the trusted road- safety products suppliers in the country. The emotional cost of deaths and serious injuries on South African roads must also be considered. It is, however, not possible to put a monetary value to reflect the pain associated with the loss of a loved one to a road accident.

The Impact of Speeding

Speeding is one of the main causes of such incidents, also speeding in urban areas where pedestrians and cyclists often share the same road spaces as motorists. Considering that for the two-year period from 2015-2017 more than 1 300 children lost their lives on the roads of this country, it is not a question of whether or not to implement traffic control and calming methods, but how and which ones for the particular situations. Here is where it becomes even more worrisome. Pedestrians make up the largest percentage of road deaths per annum. Figures show that pedestrians make up at least a third of road deaths. The ramps are not the only devices available to help reduce speeding, which is one of the main causes of accidents, but such ramps form an integral part of traffic control and speed limitation in urban areas.

Speed zones are implemented to ensure the safety of road users and communities in a particular area. In urban residential areas, the speed limit is set at 60 km per hour. Main roads in the urban areas have higher limits such as 70 km per hour. However, near schools, senior-citizen villages, hospitals, and in estates, the limits are normally lower. The problem is that motorists often ignore such limits, risking their lives and the lives of pedestrians and other motorists in the process. True, motorists are often in a hurry to get to work or home. In the process, they use roads in residential areas, not congested by traffic. By doing so, they increase the risks of accidents in residential areas. At the same time, they may drive the limit or faster than it because they are in a hurry. They may even drive too fast to come to a controlled stop at a pedestrian crossing or to be able to stop if a child runs after his dog over the street.

Traffic management in urban areas is thus essential to reduce the number of vehicles using residential area roads as short-cuts and to limit the speed of travel in these areas. In estates – where it is not always possible to enforce the speed limits through traffic officers – it becomes even more important to implement calming devices such as traffic ramps. Suppliers often offer more than one type to meet the requirements for a particular area.

What Are Traffic Ramps?

Traffic ramps, as available from road safety product suppliers, are vertical obstacles that are installed where it is necessary to enforce the speed limit without having a traffic officer present. It is a type of traffic control equipment, specifically designed to be incorporated with the design of the parking lot, driveway, or road where it is installed. Such ramps can be made from metal, asphalt, rubber, or plastic. Enquire from the suppliers about the types and materials available for the particular application.

Such ramps or humps are used where the limit is lower than normal, specifically to force motorists to slow down. Some types are used where it is necessary to keep the traffic flow going but to reduce the speed in order to protect pedestrians. Such types as available from trusted suppliers are often installed at roads in school areas and at old age homes, as well as at parking areas.

Effect on the Vehicle

The vehicle experiences a slight rocking motion when it drives over it at the allowed speed limit. If the vehicle is going at a higher speed, the vehicle occupants feel a level of discomfort and the cargo can be damaged. This type of ramp normally spans the entire lane where it is installed to prevent a motorist from simply going over the kerb to eliminate having to pass the ramp. As such, the vehicle must pass the ramp with both wheels at a time. This type of ramp also helps to discourage trucks, delivery vehicles, and transport vehicles from using an area where pedestrians such as children and older people are especially at risk.

As suppliers can explain, the ramps should not be installed on arterial roads where vehicles generally move faster. In these situations, road-safety devices such as guardrails can be installed to help reduce the risk of vehicles leaving the road and moving onto the pedestrian areas. That said, the World Health Organisation has noted that just one kilometre per hour increase in speed leads to a minimum of 4-5% higher fatality risk. With vehicles moving at higher speed, the distance required for stopping is also longer. To this end, vehicles travelling on arterial roads cannot slow down fast enough to safely pass over traffic ramps. Consult with road- safety product suppliers regarding appropriate products to help prevent fatalities on arterial roads.

Some ramps can only be safely crossed if the vehicle drives very slowly. These types are installed at the entrance and exit areas of parking lots before the boom gates. This is to prevent unauthorised high-speed access or exit from an access-controlled area. It is also installed in parking lots where overhead limitations are in place to prevent large or cargo-carrying vehicles form using the particular entrance or exit points. Moving fast over such humps can cause excessive damage to a vehicle.

Consideration of Important Factors with Installation

It is imperative to choose the right traffic-calming device for a particular area. As traffic-ramp suppliers recommend, installation must be where the calming devices are highly visible. The speed limit must be appropriate for the particular obstacle. Installation should not be done in front of a residential entrance. The road user must be warned ahead of time that an obstacle is in front to ensure safe passing over. The warning must be visible to give enough time for reducing the speed to an appropriate level for safe passing.

In Conclusion

Traffic control and calming devices can help to reduce road accidents and risks to pedestrians considerably. Buy from local Speed Ramp Suppliers to ensure the products you install meet the South African road-condition requirements. Get in touch with Armco Superlite, as one of the leading road-safety product suppliers, for quotes and more information.