The Dangers of Speeding
When first being taught to drive, you were likely told to obey the speed limit. Sadly, many drivers choose to neglect this rule as they get older, choosing to, instead, go ten, twenty, thirty, sometimes even forty miles per hour over the speed limit. This kind of behavior isn’t just illegal; it’s also reckless and incredibly dangerous. Many drivers and passengers alike have been killed due to speeding.
When Speeding Becomes Dangerous
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA), speeding-related accidents have caused roughly a third of all auto accident deaths over the past twenty years. Considering that car accidents kill over a million people every year, that means that reckless speeding is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans every single year. Why is that?
Well, the faster a driver travels, the less time they have to react to sudden changes in traffic, weather, traffic laws, or road condition. If a driver is traveling 80 mph and a downpour suddenly begins, then they’ll find it difficult to safely slow down before a sharp turn. Or, if a motorcyclist in front of them slows down, then they have just a few dozen feet to slam on their brakes and avoid a rear-end collision.
While brakes help slow a car down, they need time to work properly. The faster a driver is going, the more time the brakes will need to bring the car to a stop. At 60 mph, a car is traveling 88 feet every second. That means that if the brakes need at least five seconds to bring the car to a complete stop, a driver needs at least 440 feet of space between them and the car or object in front of them. That’s at 60 mph, which is the average speed for most highways in Arizona. Many people speed far faster than that, and the faster a driver goes, the more space they need to bring themselves to a complete stop. That lowered reaction time is deadly, and it is why speed limits are so carefully created.
How Speed Limits Are Determined
Speed limits are usually chosen by the local state government. In Arizona, this task is handled by the Arizona Department of Transportation, which will take several factors into consideration when setting a speed limit, as these limits are meant to help protect drivers, passengers, and pedestrians alike.
Road type: A winding road will often have a lower speed limit than a straight road. This is because winding roads often present more hazards, such as blind curves that could require proper time to react to. The curves themselves could also be dangerous if taken at too high a speed.
Zoning: The chances of a pedestrian death increases the faster a driver goes. So, if a road is in a suburban area or a school zone, then the limit will be considerably lower than in the desert.
Highways: Rural highways or interstate highways both typically have higher speed limits, as the roads are typically straight and wide and lack traffic lights.
Road work: The speed limits of a section of road will likely be lowered if work needs to be done on the road or near it. This helps keep workers safe, especially on highways, where speeding is more common.
High-Speed Collisions vs Low-Speed Collisions
Beyond following the carefully set law, driving slower also minimizes the amount of damage done in an accident. The faster a vehicle goes, the more energy they build up. When two cars collide, that energy is suddenly brought to a screeching halt, which causes it to flow through the speeding car into any object it strikes, causing devastating damage.
For example, when two cars get into a fender bender, which is a slow-speed rear-end collision, both drivers can walk away with minimal injuries in the majority of cases. The cars themselves may be slightly dented in the back or front but are likely still able to run perfectly fine. However, if a speeding car slams into a stopped or parked car, the force of the impact could cause the stopped car to crumple all the way up to the driver’s seat. This could leave the driver of the stopped car severely injured, or even dead.
While speeding may be a popular way to get from place to place quickly, it is by no means safe. The faster a driver goes, the more they put themselves and others at risk. If you or a loved one has been injured by a speeding driver, then you are most likely in desperate need of some help. Our Phoenix auto accident attorneys at Breyer Law Offices, P.C. have years of experience working with car accident victims in order to get them the compensation they deserve. Call our firm at (602) 457-6222 to get the dedicated and compassionate legal aid you deserve in a free consultation.
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Confidentially reviewed by Attorney Mark Breyer