Federal data shows that speeding is more widespread than you may believe. It’s also one of the most common causes of fatal auto collisions.
Every year, on average, there are about 250 fatal traffic accidents in the state of Connecticut. Countless more people suffer non-fatal injuries from auto accidents on Connecticut’s roads.
While there are myriad reasons why these accidents occur, data compiled by the US government shows that there is one driver behavior that comes up repeatedly in serious collisions: Traveling at excessive rates of speed.
Why the Number of People Who Speed May Surprise You
Americans seem to have a terminal case of “lead foot.” While most people would probably not admit to being constant speeders, research by the US federal government indicates otherwise.
A comprehensive federal study of more than 12 million vehicles showed that 70% of drivers exceed the posted limit. Additionally, more than 15% of drivers exceed the posted speed limit by 10 or more miles per hour.
As part of the study, GPS-equipped sensors were placed on roadways to track information about rates of speed, allowing researchers to derive precise data about how many Americans speed, and how fast they go.
Why is this a big deal? One key reason: It’s estimated that speeding is involved in about 27% of all fatal accidents on US roads. This means that speeding is one of the primary causes of roadway deaths.
How Speeding Leads to More Severe Collisions
Traveling at excessive speed creates a few conditions that contribute to higher fatality rates. These include the following:
- Speeding makes it more difficult to control your vehicle. Taking a sharp turn at a high rate of speed, for example, can flip over a vehicle.
- Speeding increases the force of any collision. A head on or t-bone collision may not be deadly at 25 miles per hour, but that same accident at 80 miles per hour is almost certain to be severe. The fact is that speed has an exponential relation to the energy created by a collision.
- Speeding reduces your situational awareness. When everything is passing in a blur, it becomes very difficult to make the kind of second-by-second assessments required to operate a vehicle safely in traffic. This is doubly true in times of inclement weather.
How to Reduce Your Speed
Cutting down on speeding is sometimes easier said than done. Many times we find ourselves going with the flow of traffic, even if that flow is significantly over the speed limit. Other times we simply want to get where we are going more quickly, either because we are excited about the destination, or we hate being stuck in traffic.
Understanding these behaviors can help ensure that you don’t mindlessly speed – or place yourself at unnecessary risk.