There are many factors that can contribute to car crashes, but one of the most common causes is speeding, which also results in a higher casualty rate.
How Speeding Affects Car Accident Rates
Excess speed occurs when drivers travel beyond the designated speed limit, while inappropriate speed is defined as traveling at speeds is unsuitable for a specific type of road and existing traffic conditions. Both types of speed are factors in a high number of car accidents and subsequent casualties.
According to the World Health Organization, in countries with higher income levels, speed is behind approximately 30% of accident-related deaths, but it’s the main contributor to car accidents for low-income countries.
The faster a vehicle travels, the shorter the amount of time the driver has to stop and avoid an accident. For instance, cars traveling at around 30 mph will normally require over 40 feet to come to a complete stop, while vehicles traveling at about 25 mph will be able to come to a complete stop within less than 28 feet.
Speed also affects the likelihood of fatalities in car accidents. For car occupants involved in a crash with an impact speed of 50 mph, casualties are 20 times more likely to occur than in an accident with an impact speed of about 20 mph.
Factors That Influence Speed
Driving speeds are influenced by several factors, including:
- driver-related factors such as alcohol level, age, and number of people in the vehicle
- road-related factors including road layout, surface quality, maximum speed, and power of the vehicle
- environment- and traffic-related factors such as prevailing speed, traffic density, and weather conditions
Each of these can result in a driver reaching excess or inappropriate speed levels that are likely to cause an accident in many cases.
Managing Speed Risks
Maintaining appropriate and safer speeds on all roadways can lead to safer traffic. There are several ways to help keep drivers from exceeding safe speed limits. Two of the most effective methods are setting and enforcing speed limits. The introduction of speed limits won’t have a lasting effect on driving speeds without effective, visible enforcement of them. While having law enforcement officers and vehicles ready can help curb speeding, high-speed traffic cameras are also becoming increasingly useful.
While speeding continues to be a leading contributor to car accidents and resulting casualties, more effective limits and enforcement can help prevent more accidents in the future.