Drivers in the U.S. can reduce fatal accidents by 26 percent with one change in our driving habits. The NHTSA attributes 26 percent of all fatal accidents in the U.S. to speeding. Enough of an increase in driving speed can put drivers at a greater risk of an accident than drunk or drugged driving. More speed increases both the risk of an accident and the risk of serious injuries and fatalities.
Speed Limits: Not Arbitrary Numbers
Some people slip into thinking that a speed limit is just an arbitrary number painted on a sign. Some people believe that speed limits are too low, as a rule. Some people think speed limits are a guide, and that driving at a higher speed is not a big deal. Some habitually drive 5, 10, even 15 miles over the speed limit. But remember: driving 20 mph over the speed limit is reckless driving in Virginia.
Speed limits are not just arbitrary numbers. Experts invest a great deal of thought in creating formulas for calculating speed limits based on many factors. Speed limits represent the highest speed one can drive safely on a particular road. Driving faster on a particular stretch of road would put the driver and her passengers in danger, and others sharing the road.
Determining speed limits is a matter of weighing such factors as twists and turns in the road, the condition of the road, the presence of blind hills, curves, entry points, traffic volume, other roads that connect with the road, and the topography and population of the surrounding area. Posted speed limits are also calculated on optimal vehicle and road conditions. If bad weather limits visibility or makes road slick, it is time to drive at a speed slower than the posted limit. The same is true in construction zones and other areas where something makes the road conditions less than optimal.
Why Do We Speed?
Drivers exceed the posted speed limit for a number of reasons. These include:
- Believing they are exempt from the rules. Some people believe they can safely do things that others cannot, including controlling a vehicle. These drivers forget that when traveling at a higher speed, they need more time to react to other drivers and other hazards on the road.
- When they are in a hurry some people believe that driving faster enables them to make up time and reach their destination on time. Many of these drivers drive faster and also engage in other driver behaviors that create more risk of an accident: aggressive driving, for example.
- Drivers become distracted. Distracted driving is the leading cause of auto and vehicle accidents in the U.S. Sometimes distracted drivers fail to notice that their travel speed is inching higher and higher. Speed and distraction are a deadly combination for drivers and those sharing the road with them.
- Some drivers have the attitude that speeding is acceptable as long as they don’t get caught. They become sidetracked thinking about avoiding a speeding ticket and pay less attention to what is happening on the road.
How to Reduce Fatal Accidents by 26 Percent
Reducing fatal highway accidents by 26 percent is as simple as slowing down. We might need to remind ourselves that:
- Speed limits are carefully set with consideration of a number of factors that would contribute to an accident or cause a fatal accident.
- Speeding makes our driving and the conditions of the road more dangerous for everyone.
- If our speeding causes an accident, we will not save any time.
On Virginia highways and roadways, the number of traffic accident fatalities in accidents that involve speeding is still rising.
If every driver would just slow down, we might prevent some of these serious injuries and fatalities.
Call Altizer Law, P.C.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident involving a speeding driver, you may be entitled to financial compensation for your hurts and harms. Bettina Altizer and her expert team have been helping people injured by the negligence or wrongdoing of others to obtain full compensation for more than 30 years. They understand that an award or settlement for rebuilding your life is about the money.