High Speeds Lead to High
Risks for Serious Injuries
Most people have driven above the speed limit at some point in their lives. Whether you were running late for an important event, trying to keep up with the flow of traffic, or just not paying attention, the decision to speed can sometimes seem like no big deal.
The truth is: Speeding is a leading cause of injuries and deaths on the road.
As the number on your speedometer climbs, so does your risk for being involved in an accident. Your ability to steer and stop becomes more difficult, and any error you make is amplified. Injuries are much more serious in speeding-related accidents, and the risk of fatal injuries is higher when speeding is a factor.
Ultimately, there should never be a “need to speed.” The need to arrive alive should always be your driving factor behind the wheel.
By the numbers
People killed by speeding in the U.S. in 2017
Of all traffic fatalities in 2017 were caused by speeding
If average speeds reduced by this amount, the rate of crashes would drop by about 5%
The difference in stopping distance needed between a car going 30 mph and a car going 35 mph
Of crashes involving injury or death happen on roads with a speed limit of 30 mph or less
What Happens When You
Put the Pedal to the Metal?
Let’s say you are traveling through your neighborhood at 25 miles per hour, a relatively low speed as far as speed limits go. As you make your way onto bigger roads with more traffic and faster drivers, how much does your risk of a serious collision increase? The answer may surprise you:
As you accelerate to 35 miles per hour, the force in a potential collision would double.
When you hit 50 miles per hour, the force in a potential crash would be four times greater.
At 75 miles per hour, the force of impact would be nine times more powerful.
Identifying the Factors
That Lead to Speeding
There are a variety of factors that may influence a person’s decision to speed. Research has suggested that some of the primary factors include:
This can include the driver’s age and gender, the person’s alcohol level, or the number of people in the vehicle with the driver. Sometimes, drivers may just be in a rush to stay on schedule and get to an appointment on time.
Many drivers decide to go above the speed limit to stay with the flow of speeding traffic on the road. Conditions such as congestion can also lead some drivers to behave more aggressively, speeding and weaving in and out of traffic.
These factors may include road layout and the road’s surface quality.
Drivers in powerful vehicles with a higher maximum speed may be more inclined to push the limits.
Although weather conditions such as rain and fog should prompt drivers to slow down, some do not heed the natural safety warning and instead drive too fast for conditions.
It’s easy for a motorist to feel like they’re in their own little bubble in a vehicle, which can lead to a feeling of detachment from the strangers in the vehicles around them. Drivers may feel anonymous, as if they can go as fast as they want or otherwise behave aggressively because they will never see the other motorists again.
Consequences of Speeding
Drivers who speed may think they have escaped all consequences if they get to their destination without causing a crash or getting pulled over. However, even then, they pay for their decision in the form of increased fuel consumption by their speeding vehicle.
Other, more serious consequences of speeding include:
- Greater risk of loss of control of the vehicle
- Increased stopping distance required to avoid a crash
- Diminished effectiveness of safety equipment such as seat belts
- Increased severity of impact and resulting injuries in a crash
- Financial consequences stemming from a speed-related crash
- Fines from a speeding ticket and effects on insurance premiums
- Potential criminal charges stemming from reckless driving