Speeding is extremely dangerous—to you, your passengers, and other drivers on the road. In 2020 alone, it killed 11,258 people. That’s 29% of all motor vehicle fatalities.
And yet, a 2020 national telephone survey conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that 45% of drivers reported that they had exceeded the speed limit by 15 MPH on a freeway in the past month, and 35% reported exceeding the speed limit by 10 MPH on a residential street.
So, why do people speed?
Many reasons. Sometimes drivers are in a rush to make it somewhere, like work or a doctor’s appointment. Other times, they are frustrated by traffic and resort to speeding their way through it. Some get distracted and don’t realize how fast they are driving or what the speed limit is. Others give into peer pressure to speed or they want to show off their car’s capabilities (think a nice sports car). And some simply disregard the law.
None of these are good reasons to speed. Though it may be tempting to speed in the moment, speed limits are there for a reason, and breaking them is almost never worth it. At most, it will shave off a few minutes from your commute, but it comes at some serious costs.
Here are the top four dangers of speeding:
1. It’s one of the leading causes of fatal car accidents
The number one reason speeding is dangerous is that it dramatically increases your chance of getting into a deadly car accident.
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, speeding triples the odds of crashing. And according to Value Penguin, speeding is one of the three leading behavioral causes of fatal collisions (along with driving under the influence and not wearing a seat belt).
Why is speeding so deadly? For one, it lowers your reaction time. For example, it gives you less time to react to road obstructions, the car in front of you suddenly braking, or a child running out into the street.
In addition, speeding exponentially increases the impact of a crash. For example, when impact speed increases from 40 to 60 MPH (a 50% increase), the energy that needs to be managed increases by 125%.
In short, speeding not only increases the likelihood of a crash occurring but the amount of damage it does.
2. It increases the risk of serious injury
Even if a speeding car accident isn’t fatal, it increases the chance of serious injury.
According to a study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, a driver has a 15% risk of serious injury at 40 MPH. At 50 MPH, the risk is 59%, and at 55.9 MPH, the risk is 78%. At speeds of 50 MPH or higher, drivers are also at a high risk (52% to 67%) of facial fracture and severe brain injury.
So by breaking the speed limit, you are unnecessarily raising the stakes if you get into an accident.
3. It becomes a greater risk factor when road conditions are poor
It’s also worth noting that speeding becomes a greater risk factor when road conditions are poor.
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), in 2020, speeding was a factor in fatal crashes for:
- 19% of drivers on dry roads
- 21% on wet roads
- 33% on roads with snow or slush
- 45% on roads with moving or standing water
- 42% on roads with mud, dirt, or gravel
- 42% on roads with ice or frost
Keep in mind that speeding doesn’t always require you to exceed the speed limit. Driving “too fast for conditions” (regardless of the speed limit) is also considered speeding.
4. It can cost you in other ways
Lastly, speeding doesn’t just increase the risk of death and serious injury.
It can also lead to costly speeding tickets, points on your license, higher insurance rates, increased wear and tear on your car, and higher fuel costs.
Consider this: a single speeding ticket can cost you a few hundred dollars and raise your annual auto insurance costs by a few hundred dollars as well.
The more you speed, the more the legal and financial consequences escalate.
The bottom line
The dangers of speeding are real. So don’t take any chances.
Know the speed limit, adjust to road conditions, be mindful of other drivers, and drive defensively.
And if you are ever a victim of a speeding accident, consult an experienced auto accident attorney. They can help you get the compensation you deserve for any car damage, injuries, trauma, lost income, and more.