4 Ways Speeding Makes Car Accidents More Dangerous
Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, there were two major driving-related trends that got a lot of attention: fewer people driving and an increase of car accident fatalities. Even though many people were driving less because of stay-at-home orders, the overall number of traffic fatalities did not decrease on a per-mile travel traveled basis compared to the same time last year. One reason for this may be because of increases in reckless driving during the pandemic, with many police departments reporting having to stop people who were driving much faster than the posted speed limit.
Even though there were some very notable examples of speeding during the pandemic, speeding is hardly a new problem. Car accidents occur in many different ways, but data shows that speeding has a common cause of fatal motor vehicle crashes for years before COVID-19. According to the NHTSA, speeding was a contributing factor in 26% of all traffic fatalities in 2017. Here in Michigan, the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning reports that excessive speed led to 12.2% of all fatal crashes in 2019.
So, what exactly is it that makes speeding so dangerous? Here are a few reasons why.
Drivers Need More Time to Stop
Nobody ever wants to have to slam on the brakes while they’re driving, but it happens to everybody at some point or another. Maybe a car in front of you stops suddenly or a person or an animal unexpectedly moves into the roadway. But the faster a car is moving, the more space it will need to come to a complete stop. So if a speeding driver sees something unexpected in the road that they need to stop for, there’s a chance they won’t be able to stop in time while a person driving at a lower speed might be able to stop safely.
Speeding Causes More Severe Damage
The physics involved with speeding cars not only means they need more space to stop, it also means they crash with a stronger force than a slower car would, giving them the power to cause more extensive property damage and more severe injuries.
Pedestrian accidents are a good example of the difference speed can make in terms of damages. According to AAA, the average risk of severe injuries for pedestrians involved in a car-pedestrian crash increases as follows:
10% when the impact speed is 16 MPH
25% when the impact speed is 23 MPH
50% when the impact speed is 31 MPH
75% when the impact speed is 39 MPH
90% when the impact speed is 46 MPH
Speeding Makes it Harder to Maintain Control
Speeding can also make it more difficult to maintain control over a vehicle. For example, a car might roll over when turning a corner too quickly. Even though rollover accidents only account for about 2% of all car crashes, they result in about one-third of vehicle occupant deaths. The NHTSA also reports that nearly three-quarters of fatal rollover accidents occurred in areas with a posted speed limit of 55 MPH or higher.
Safety Equipment Becomes Less Effective
Cars are full of safety features intended to help protect drivers and passengers in the event of a crash. But features like seat belts and airbags are designed to protect users up to a maximum speed. If an accident occurs while driving beyond that speed, there’s a chance that they might not protect users as well as they would at a lower rate of speed.
If you’ve been in an accident with a speeding driver, don’t hesitate to get the help of a car accident lawyer. Since these types of crashes often result in severe injuries, it’s very important to make sure insurance companies don’t pressure you into settling for less than you need for your treatment and care. At Goodwin & Scieszka, we’re highly experienced in helping the victims of Michigan car accidents, just like you. Contact us today for help with your case.
Image: iStock / gehringj