Why are we even writing about this, right? And yet… speed is still a problem on the roads. We just have to look at road death statistics to know that speed is still a major cause of fatalities. Today, we review how exactly driving at crazy speeds contributes to the unnecessary deaths we see, hear and read about every day.
To what kind of driving does the term ‘speeding’ apply?
ANY situation where you’ve exceeded the speed limit. In other words, if you’re driving on an urban road, where the speed limit is 60 km/h (37 mph), and you’re driving at 70 km/h (44 mph), you’re speeding – and breaking the law – to precisely the same degree as if you were driving 275 km/h (170 mph) in a 120 km/h (75 mph) zone.
There’s a reason these limits are put in place – they’re not simply there to ‘ruin your fun’. Here’s what you need to know.
The 9 main dangers of speeding
- Speeding kills
Here’s the most important danger of speeding: Speeding kills. According to the US Census Bureau, ‘In 2008 there were 37 261 speed-related traffic fatalities in the US.’ There are low speed limits specifically set in different areas because of hazards of speed upon the surrounding community. Whatever the reason, the speed limit applies to everyone regardless of the capability of the car or the experience of the driver.
- Speeding is not just driving above the posted speed limit
It also includes driving too fast for road conditions, or any other speed-related violation charged (racing, speed greater than reasonable, and exceeding special speed limits).
- Speeding is bad for the environment
Speed limits may be set in an attempt to reduce the environmental impact of road traffic (vehicle noise, vibration, emissions), to reduce fuel use and to satisfy local community wishes. According to Ford Motor Company, ‘Driving a vehicle at 105 km/h (65 mph) consumes about 15% more fuel than driving the same vehicle at 89 km/h (55 mph). More fuel consumed means more CO2 [is] released into the atmosphere.’
- Speeding messes with your reaction time and ability
If you avoid speeding, you will increase your chances of being to adjust to unexpected curves or objects in the roadway. Speeding considerably extends the distance necessary to stop a vehicle. It also increases the distance a vehicle travels while the driver reacts to a dangerous situation.
- In a high-speed crash, a passenger vehicle cannot handle the force of the crash
As crash speeds get very high, airbags and seat belts do not work as well to keep passengers safe. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that the force of a crash’s impact doubles with every 16 km/h (10 mph) increase in speed, at speeds faster than 80 km/h (50 mph). The risk of suffering a serious injury or dying also increases with the higher rate of speed.
- Speed influences the risk of crashes and crash injuries in 3 basic ways
- By the time the driver realises he/she needs to react, they’ve travelled closer to the danger
- The driver has to brake harder
- The crash is harder
- If a driver DOUBLES their speed, the braking distance becomes FOUR times as far
Traveling at 89 km/h (55 mph), it will take about six seconds to stop the vehicle. The vehicle will travel approximately 302 feet before coming to a stop. That is longer than the length of a football field.
- The total stopping distance of the vehicle depends on four things
- A driver’s perception time
- A driver’s reaction time
- A driver’s vehicle reaction time
- A driver’s vehicle braking capability
- When a driver is speeding, other drivers have a hard time telling how fast they are going