Dear Crabby,

I’m venting frustration over the ubiquitous speed bumps on many streets in Yakima.

In Hawaii they are called speed humps. The Brits’ slang term for the rotten tire-busting shock absorber destroyer is sleeping policeman.

Why does almost every neighborhood cry and moan to the city to install speed bumps when an occasional driver exceeds the 25 mph speed limit? Shopping centers have joined in as well. I suspect several miles of city streets could be repaved with the asphalt wasted on these impediments to normal traffic flow. I hate them!!!

Thanks, Grouchy Curmudgeon


Dear Grouchy,

First of all, sleeping policeman is a hilarious name for a speed bump. Second, speed humps and speed bumps are not the same. They’re similar, but the former is much broader from front to back, meaning its angles of ascent and descent aren’t so severe. (Don’t worry. I didn’t know that either until I spent a, frankly, dumb amount of time researching them for this response.)

Semantics aside, I definitely understand your frustration, Grouchy. I don’t think I’d have gone all the way to the triple exclamation point, but I get it. Speed bumps (and humps) are annoying to drive over and, depending on how low-to-the-ground your car is, potentially bad for your car. Also they essentially render a 25 mph zone a 15-20 mph zone, which I find particularly irksome.

Thing is, though, as I’ve gotten older my speed-bump aversion has softened. When I was 20, I would curse the very asphalt they were made from as I tore up and down residential streets, trying to maintain my speed as much as possible out of pure spite. That was really dumb.

Now I’m 40, living on a semi-busy street with a family and a couple of dogs that would run out into traffic in an instant, given the chance. I wish we had speed bumps on our street. I’m sure I’d find them annoying as I drove home every day, but they’d make my street safer.

I recognize that this evolution in my speed-bump opinion makes me a cliche. It’s a very “get off of my lawn, you damn teenagers,” thing. But I can’t help it. (Also: What’s wrong about not wanting teenagers on your lawn? They’re obnoxious, and they usually leave their 20-ounce Mountain Dew Baja Blast bottles and Fiery Habanero Doritos bags right there on the lawn for me to run over with my mower. I wish they’d go vape and make memes somewhere else.)

So, Grouchy, to bring things full circle, I’ll just say that I agree with you; from a driver’s perspective speed bumps are the worst. I choose which streets to use based on which ones don’t have them. But as an increasingly lame homeowner, I think they’re great. I actually have speed-bump envy, wishing they were annoying drivers on MY street. I know that’s not the angry validation and support you were looking for. But I just can’t gin up too much outrage at being slightly inconvenienced in the name of safety.

Hope that helps.

Sincerely, Crabby