Many drivers exceed the speed limit from time to time, some do so regularly, but far too many drivers underestimate the potentially deadly risk of doing so.
Over the past two decades, excessive speed has been a factor in about one-third of all motor vehicle fatalities in the U.S., killing 9,379 Americans in 2018 alone.
Why speeding is so dangerous
Speeding both increases the likelihood of an accident and the severity of a potential collision. Traveling at high speeds impairs a driver’s ability to maintain vehicle control, including:
- Increasing the distance needed to react to obstacles or changes in traffic
- Decreasing the ability to negotiate curves safely
- Decreasing the ability to correctly judge the distance between other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians
Additionally, the effectiveness of occupant protection equipment may be greatly reduced when speed is a factor, increasing the chance that a collision results in severe injury or death.
Driving for the conditions
Under some circumstances, even driving at the speed limit may be too fast for conditions. During periods of severe weather or when navigating poorly maintained or poorly lit roadways, drivers may need to reduce speed for their own and others’ safety.
Staying safe around speeding drivers
Whether due to traffic congestion, hectic schedules or simple disregard for the law, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports an overall rise in aggressive driving habits in the U.S., including speeding.
A driver who notices another motorist speeding or otherwise acting recklessly should give that motorist plenty of space, including allowing him or her to pass if possible.