The problem of speeding:
- In 2018, about 26 percent of all traffic fatalities involved at least one driver who was speeding¹.
- 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 safe2.
- Speed influences the risk of crashes and crash injuries in three basic ways2:
- By the time the driver realizes he/she needs to react, they’ve traveled closer to the danger
- The driver has to brake harder
- The crash is harder
- Teens are more likely than older drivers to speed and allow shorter headways (the distance from the front of one vehicle to the front of the next).
- If a driver doubles his/her speed – say from 30 mph to 60 mph – the 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 the vehicle. The vehicle will travel approximately 302 feet before coming to a stop. That is longer than the length of a football field3.
- The total stopping distance of the vehicle depends on four things3:
- 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.
- Speeding to keep up with the flow of traffic is not legal and the driver can still be ticketed.
- A driver should consider road conditions, weather, and road design and slow down when those change. It is easier to lose traction when speeding around a curve and the high center of gravity makes it easier to roll over. A driver should slow down before curves.
Always speak up for your safety
- The faster the vehicle is going, the harder it is to stop.
- Remember that speeding can be dangerous and cost money.
- Watch for speed limit signs and let the driver know when the number changes
- Help the driver look for dangers in the road.
- Ask questions about driving and how it’s done. This lets the driver know they are setting the example.
- Know the law – Reckless driving is against the law and is defined as driving in a way that shows you really don’t care about the safety of people or property.
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Traffic Safety Facts: 2018 Data, Retrieved from: https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812932
- Insurance Institute for Highway Safety
- Southern Illinois University
Updated July 2021