Young adults do not consider driving 5 to 10 miles over the speed limit to be dangerous.
The culture of speed is difficult to change when people do not consider it to be dangerous but even just 5 miles can make a big difference in preventing a crash.
DID YOU KNOW…
- In 2019, there were 36,096 traffic fatalities in the US. Among them, 9,378 (26%) were in crashes where at least one driver was speeding. This was a increase from 2018 (1).
- Of those fatal crashes, nearly a third (30%) of male drivers in the 15- to 20-year-old and 20- to 24-year-old age groups involved in fatal crashes were speeding at the time of the crash (1).
- In 2018, Texas was ranked first in the nation with 990 speed-related traffic fatalities (1).
The problem of speeding:
- In a high-speed crash, a passenger vehicle cannot withstand the force of the crash and maintain the passenger compartment. Also, as crash speeds get very high, restraint systems such as airbags and seat belts cannot keep the forces on occupants below severe injury levels2.
- Speed influences the risk of crashes and crash injuries in three basic ways2:
- It increases the distance a vehicle travels from the time a driver detects an emergency to the time the driver reacts, so by the time you realize you need to react, you’ve traveled closer to the danger.
- It increases the braking distance. For example, If you double your speed – say from 30 mph to 60 mph – your braking distance does not become twice as long. It becomes four times as far. Traveling at 55 mph, it will take about 6 seconds to stop your vehicle. The vehicle will travel approximately 302 feet before coming to a stop. That is longer than the length of a football field3.
- It increases the crash energy by the square of the speeds. For example, when impact speed increases from 40 to 60 mph (a 50 percent increase), the energy that needs to be managed increases by 125 percent.
- The total stopping distance of your vehicle depends on four things3:
- Your perception time
- Your reaction time
- Your vehicle reaction time
- Your vehicle braking capability
What to do about speeding:
- Know with every mile per hour increase you also increase your reaction travel time, braking distance and crash energy(2).
- High speed wrecks compromise your car’s safety features (2).
- When you speed, you also decrease the judgment of other drivers to be able to gauge your distance and speed.
- Understand speed limits are set with safety in mind. They are based on roadside environment, roadway design and pedestrian traffic1.
- Speeding to keep up with the flow of traffic is not legal and you can still be ticketed.
- Speeding decreases your fuel efficiency.
- You should always be able to stop within the distance you can see ahead.
- Consider road conditions, weather and road design and slow down accordingly.
- It is easier to lose traction when speeding around a curve and the high center of gravity makes it easier to roll over. Slow down before curves.
- Remember to use the two-second rule to keep a safe distance between you and the car ahead of you.
- NHTSA, Speeding. Available at:https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/speeding
- Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
- Southern Illinois University
Updated August 2021