Why Speeding Causes Such Devastating Auto Crashes
Although speeding is illegal and can result in large fines and insurance rate increases, many drivers continue to do it.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 9,557 fatalities were caused by speeding in 2015—that's 27 percent of all vehicle fatalities.
Why Speeding Is So Dangerous
Many drivers who speed also engage in other unsafe driving practices that may contribute to causing a crash, such as talking on a cellphone, texting, driving while intoxicated, and tailgating. The result may be a devastating accident that causes victims to suffer life-altering injuries, like traumatic brain injury, spinal and back injuries, paralysis, and amputations—or death.
Speeding contributes to more catastrophic accidents because of the:
- Greater force of impact. When someone is speeding, the force of impact when his vehicle crashes into another is much greater—about four times greater—than if he were driving at a safer speed.
- Inability to stop. Motorists are usually advised to consider the three second rule between vehicles to allow a safe distance. When speeding, this distance is greatly shortened, making it more likely a motorist won't be able to brake in time to avoid a collision.
- Loss of control. When navigating uneven road surfaces or sudden lane obstacles, such as an animal or another vehicle, driving above the speed limit can cause someone to quickly lose control or resort to dangerous maneuvers to avoid a crash.
- Slower reaction time. Some data indicates the average alert driver takes 1.5 seconds to react to an unsafe situation. A speeding driver takes even longer to see a hazard, acknowledge danger, and decide how to react.
- Inability to drive for weather conditions. Ice, heavy rain, snow, and fog require drivers to be more alert and possibly reduce speeds. Speeding in these conditions greatly impacts the ability to maintain control. If a crash occurs, law officers often refer to the cause as "speed too fast for conditions."
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