By Cathrine Badillo
How many times a day are you rushing to get out the door, finish an assignment, or get to your next class? As a college student, these are everyday struggles. Allowing yourself to be five minutes late could be the difference between making it to your next class or ending up in a deadly crash. In 2019, there were 36,096 traffic fatalities in the US (1). Among them, 9,378 (26%) were in crashes where at least one driver was speeding (“Speeding & Aggression”) (1). When you speed, you are not just endangering yourself, but you are endangering everyone on the road.
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 (2). When we add distractions such as phone use, or passengers on top of speeding the risk only increases. Often drivers will think they need to speed due to being late and needing to arrive at their destination on time, but whenever they are apprehensive and stressed, all of these factors contribute to dangerous roadways which could cause a wreck. Risking your safety and the safety of those around you is not worth it.
It is important to be actively aware of your speed and the speed of other roadway users around you. Here are 5 ways to avoid speeding:
- Give yourself more time – Most people end up speeding because they are running late. Therefore, if you leave early and give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination, you’ll be less likely to drive over the speed limit.
- Check your speedometer – Mindless driving can cause you to unintentionally speed. Getting in the habit of regularly checking your speedometer while driving can help avoid going over the speed limit.
- Learn the cost of speeding – Understanding the cost of your speeding habit could be enough to get you to stop speeding. Research the speeding laws in your local area and state. You might be surprised to learn how much even one speeding ticket could cost. Too many tickets could also lead to a suspended license.
- Identify Speeding Triggers – Other factors like stress or anger can cause you to drive too fast. Learning your personal triggers can help you learn how to stop speeding altogether.
- Use cruise control – Cruise control is useful for straight, open roads that many people are tempted to speed on. Your car will take care of maintaining and regulating your speed so you can focus on potential hazards on the road.
Watch this video from the Insurance Institute of High Safety showing how modest speed increases cause severe consequences.
- NHTSA, Speeding. Available at: https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/speeding
- Southern Illinois University
Catherine Badillo is a student at the University of Houston majoring in American Sign Language Interpreting. She plans to become an educational interpreter to provide deaf students with access to communication in schools.