Many people dream of owning of driving a supercar in their lifetime.
Supercars offer unearthly speeds that will sate the desire of even extreme thrill-seekers, supercars are the royalty of the car world.
However, owning one of these rugged and crazy-quick beauties is not as fun as is portrayed in the movies and on TV. Spartan interiors, meager fuel economy, exorbitant repair fees may make you regret your choice to buy a supercar. It is worse when you own a supercar and cannot take it out for fear of speed bumps damaging the vehicle’s undercarriage.
Can supercars navigate city speed bumps/humps?
Newer supercars have features that help low ground clearance cars scale speed bumps with no damage. There are strategies you can use to ensure your supercar navigates the city speed bumps without stress.
That being said, there are some interesting things about just how low supercars are and how they handle speedbumps and other obstacles!
Table of Contents
How Low Are Modern Supercars From The Factory?
It seems to be an unspoken rule among supercars, as almost all of them have low ground clearance. For a bit of perspective, let us compare the ground clearance of the Aston Martin Vantage, one of the supercars with the best clearance since it compares with the clearance of the average sedan.
The clearance of the Aston Martin Vantage is 6.2 inches, which is still lower than the ground clearance of the average SUV that is around 7 inches.
Supercars have a low ground clearance for various reasons.
First, low ground clearance allows the car to hug the ground and decreases the risk of toppling, especially when turning tight corners at high speed. More importantly, it improves the car’s aerodynamic qualities, reducing the air resistance the vehicle has to overcome (this is partly why supercars put up amazing speeds).
However, low ground clearance also puts your expensive ride at risk.
The design exposes the car to scrapes, dents, and scratches, especially when driving over obstacles such as road bumps and potholes.
Shredded bumpers, smashed oil pans, and damaged suspensions are problems you will probably face as the owner of a ground-hugging supercar.
Here are the ground clearance measurements for some of the most popular supercars around:
|Model||Ground Clearance (Inches)|
|McLaren 720 S||4.2”|
|Aston Martin Vantage||6.2”|
How High Are Speed Bumps Generally?
According to many online sources and federal laws, the average height of speed bumps is between 2-4 inches.
Some may be higher, though, as official dimensions vary across states. This is because there is no central body regulating the height of speed bumps. Instead, local municipalities select measurements they believe to be appropriate.
The type of speed bump used can also determine the height. There are many variations of the speed bump. There is the standard speed bump, speed hump, speed table, and speed cushion, all of which have varying heights.
Standard speed bumps are designed to “aggressively” limit the speed of cars (they can reduce the speed of a car to 5–10 mph). It is used mostly in areas where pedestrians and vehicles, and share space: areas such as parking lots and driveways. The average height of speed bumps is 3-6 inches, but this number largely depends on the decision of local authorities.
Speed humps are the preferred option for inner-city routes where excessive speed can endanger people around. School zones, business districts, etc. are examples of places where you will find speed humps.
Speed humps differ from speed bumps because they are wider. In addition, they do not bring oncoming cars to a near-halt as speed bumps do (they limit vehicle speed to around 10-15 mph).
Most speed humps are within the range of 3-4 inches.
Speed tables are flat-topped humps, which raise the wheelbase of a car to reduce its speed. Speed tables do not slow down cars the way speed humps and speed bumps do.
Hence, you will find them in areas where normal speed limits apply (transit areas, for example).
The average height for a speed table is 3-3.5 inches.
How Low Is Too Low To Pass A Speed Bump?
Per city regulations and guidelines given by traffic control bodies like the Federal Highway Administration, the maximum height for a speed hump is 4 inches.
That is a problem if you intend to drive your beautiful Lamborghini around the city.
To drive over a typical city speed hump, your supercar will need at least 4.5-5 inches of ground clearance. Anything lesser than that will put components located under the car’s hood in danger of serious damage.
If you are in doubt, a visit online will show you pictures of shredded bumpers, punctured oil pans, damaged suspension,s, etc.
Things can become more problematic if you live in a private residential area where speed bumps are used instead of humps. On average, speed bumps in such areas can be up to six inches high, provided local authorities approve.
In places like this, any vehicle with clearance lesser than 6.5 inches or above will not do
What Do Car Owners Do About It?
We have compiled a list of strategies supercar owners deploy to drive their vehicles, irrespective of road obstacles.
Below, you will find helpful tips on how to drive your supercar in a city with less hindrance:
1. Increase the Ground Clearance of the Vehicle
There are many ways to increase the clearance of the car, such as getting bigger tires or using DIY Suspension Lift kits.
You can also pay companies that offer vehicle customization services. However, increasing the clearance of your car will increase the center of gravity of the vehicle and limit your ability to make sharp turns.
2. Get a Supercar With Adjustable Suspension
To prevent speed bumps from damaging supercars, some companies now equip their vehicles with an adjustable suspension system. For such cars, pressing a button will lift the vehicle so it can pass over road obstacles with no damage.
McLaren has a switchable “Nose Filter,” Lamborghini has a “Front End Lift System,” and the Ford GT has an “Adjustable Multimode Suspension System.”
3. Plan Routes Ahead and Avoid Areas with Road Bumps
If your supercar does not come with an adjustable suspension or a suspension lift system, this will probably be your best option.
With the availability of Google Maps and other technologies, you can plan your journey to avoid fender-bending speed breakers.
If you must drive over road bumps, there are several tutorials online on how to drive supercars over speed bumps. Check these videos, especially if you know you cannot avoid speed bumps on your daily journey.
Other Places You Cannot Take The Lowest Supercars
Apart from city roads filled with colossal speed bumps, are there other places where driving your prized supercar is an extreme sport?
In fact, there are more of them than we can count!
For starters, you cannot use your supercar on off-road terrain.
Taking your Bugatti Veyron for a spin in the desert or jungle will only damage the car and put you in unnecessary danger.
Snow-covered roads are another terrain in which driving your supercar may be impossible.
Think of it, how will a Chevy Corvette with a meager 4-inch ground clearance ford through seven-inch thick snowfalls?
Except you plan to give your vehicle a massive suspension lift (which will make it unwieldy), snow driving is something best left to the Jeeps and Land Rovers of this world.
Rural and underdeveloped areas are also ruled out.
With moon crater-sized potholes, your car will be so banged up you will regret going on such a journey.
If you need a place to enjoy all the horsepower, torque, and speed that comes with your supercar, a racetrack or drag strip is a perfect location.
There are many drag strips sanctioned by the National Hot Rod Association, where you can race for fun and compete against other drivers.
How Low Is Too Low (Legally speaking)?
Legislation on the minimum ground clearance is vague, with emphasis placed more on bumper height and overall car height. However, this does not mean there are no laws restricting the minimum ground clearance of vehicles.
In New York, your frame height cannot be lower than the sidewall of your vehicle’s tires – meaning your suspension must not be lower than the sides of the vehicle. In Georgia, you cannot lower your car’s original suspension by more than two inches.
New Hampshire has a law similar to New York’s-no part of the car’s bodywork can be lower than the lowest part of the car’s wheels.
In Washington, no part of the vehicle should touch the ground except the four wheels of the car.
In other states, the official regulation is that “No part of the vehicle can extend below the lowest point of the rim.” Regulations on the ground clearance vary by state.
Check with your resident state’s Department of Transportation or ask highway patrol teams how low you can go.