Tucked away among rolling hills is a land of neighborhood cookouts, SUVs, and coffee shops also known as our home. But our suburbia, like so many others, is plagued by an ever-growing problem: speeding.
It seems fitting of the hashtag #firstworldproblems that our biggest concern is a yoga pant clad housewife with a lead foot, but speeding is a real problem, and it causes real danger. Below are some of the solutions our neighbors have tried ranked from the least to the most effective. And trust us, number 1 will surprise you.
5. Speed Bumps and Strategic Parking
Our neighbors love the idea of road obstacles as a solution to stop speeders. They’ve suggested both speed bumps and parking on the side of the road.
Of all the ideas we have heard, these two ideas are our least favorite. Blocking a roadway is never a good idea and parking on the side of the street might make it impossible for an emergency vehicle to make its way through.
Speed bumps come with their own issues. They can slow down emergency vehicles, increase vehicular wear and tear, and they aren’t always effective at slowing down traffic.1
4. Raising Awareness
Raising awareness is a nice way to describe the four-year Facebook war that’s been raging between our neighbors. The page is a constant battleground with neighbors suggesting the common to the outrageous (spike strips and pitchforks). Forgiving the fact that our neighbor can’t spell the word ridiculous, he has a point. People need to “slow the hell down.” And with years of back and forth between people who should be getting along, griping at each other hasn’t done anything beyond drive a wedge between neighbors.
3. Seeking Police Assistance
Calling the police to help fight abused roadways seems like a logical solution. And in fact, our neighborhood tried this solution several years ago. Yes, they sent a patrol car. In fact, to this day we have a police car that patrols our streets. Do you want to know how many times we have seen someone pulled over? Not once.
We don’t blame the police, but asking them to solve our neighborhood speeding problem is an ineffective solution. The speeding problem is sporadic, as is police presence, making it a temporary solution. While it works, temporarily, the problem starts back up as soon as they leave.
2. Signage and Petitions
Two positive suggestions born from the neighborhood Facebook page include signage and petitions. Yes, we actually had several men walk the neighborhood to raise awareness and ask other neighbors to sign a non-speeding pledge. In addition to signatures, they asked neighbors to place “yellow men” in an attempt to raise awareness.
The Yellow Men appear to have a positive effect on speeding. But like police presence, it’s a temporary improvement. They only work when they’re out, and they aren’t out all of the time.
1. Using Video Surveillance to Curb Speeding
It started out innocently enough. We added a security camera to keep an eye on our neighborhood. But after awhile, we started using it to save clips of habitual speeders. And before long, we started using the clips to make complaints against commercial vehicles. The UPS guy, USPS guy, and a local lawn care guy have all fallen victim to our camera, and now they all respect the speed limit.
To make this happen, you will need a camera that can record continuous video like Nest Cam. Though there may be cameras capable of doing the same for free, with Nest Cam we pay $10 per month for cloud storage and the ability to create and save clips. Next, you will need reference videos. We drove by our house at 20 mph (the speed limit) and 30mph creating two separate clips. Now, when we see someone fly by, we review the recorded footage and compare it to our reference videos. If someone appears to be going over 40, we save a clip and send it, along with the reference clips, to their employer.
Of course, commercial vehicles aren’t the only offenders. Teenagers and adults often forget to slow the hell down, as our neighbor likes to say. But how do you address this without starting a war or making things too personal? The key is fear. Every so often, we would post a video of a commercial vehicle flying by our house and accompany it with a non-threatening message like, “Hey guys! Just wanted to let you know that we talked to the postmaster, the mail guy has been asked to obey the speed limit in our neighborhood.” Never once have we called out a neighbor for speeding, but we have planted a seed. They know that at any given time we might post a picture of someone flying by the house. And guess what? On a daily basis, we can literally watch people hit the brakes BEFORE they pass the house. Our house IS a speed bump, without the negative consequences.
Sure, it’s a passive-aggressive approach, but it works. We have managed to stop speeding, down our street at least, and we have also done so without starting a neighborhood war.
So what do you think? Would you use a home security camera to stop speeders? Sound off below.