Speed always affects safety and mobility – two performance determinants of the highway system. Though greater speed means less travel time, it is also a fact that any increase in speed raises the risk of an accident. In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speeding is the third major reason behind fatal accidents; the first is driving while impaired and the second, not wearing a seatbelt. Though efforts to reduce the number of fatalities due to DWI and failure to wear a seatbelt seem to be effective, the result is not the same when it comes to speeding. This is because though many drivers consider speeding as a threat to the safety of so many other motorists and pedestrians, these very same drivers are guilty of speeding too.
Speeding can be exceeding the determined speed limit or driving too fast for any specific road condition, such as not slowing down when roads are slick or icy. There are different reasons why people drive at inappropriate and illegal speeds. Some of these reasons are:
About 13,000 lives are lost annually due to speeding, which males aged 17-24 are most commonly guilty of. By traveling at inappropriate and illegal speeds, vehicles take a longer time to stop and drivers have less time to assess and react to any danger they are faced with. Speeding also makes driver errors more dangerous, causing more severe injuries, and can turn what otherwise would have been a near miss into a crash.
However, speeding is not the only cause of car accidents. Driving too slowly can also lead to involvement in an accident. This is because those around the slow driver expect everyone to be going the same speed as them. Other drivers may not slow down fast enough or will switch lanes too quickly, miscalculating how close the slow driver actually is.
Though research clearly shows that those driving up to 10 mph slower than the posted speed limit are more likely to get involved in an accident than those who are speeding, it does not eliminate the dangers associated with speeding. When a speeder and a someone who drives too slowly come across one another, it can be incredibly dangerous. The speeder expects everyone will be driving at least the posted speed limit, while the slow driver expects the speeder to be going close to the speed limit. This means they are both operating on faulty information that can result in a serious wreck.
Observing speed limits would be the best way to ensure safety and, if ever you are involved in an accident due to another driver who is speeding, make sure you contact a lawyer immediately to know what your legal rights are the liable party’s responsibilities towards you. You may be able to prove that the accident was not your fault, making you eligible for injury compensation from the responsible party.