For many years, speeding has been proven to be a leading factor in traffic deaths throughout the world. According to statistics from the department of transportation, one-third of all traffic deaths in the United States have been affected by speeding. The effects of traffic deaths also go beyond the loss of life and grieving by the family. Studies have shown that countries can lose 3-5 percent of their GDP due to car accident deaths through insurance claims, loss of work, and other financial factors. Speeding is a cause of death that can be easily solved without any new technology or cure, yet it still happens on a regular basis.
So why is speeding such a major factor in accidents and deaths on the road, compared to any number of other factors? Speeding while driving provides a higher risk of causing an accident for a wide variety of reasons. Drivers who speed have less time to react to changing conditions, such as changes in road quality, weather, or other driver’s movements on the road. Speeding makes for worse accidents when they happen due to the faster velocity of the impact. Its effects can also be multiplied by distracted driving or tired driving.
Fortunately for drivers, steps have been taken by many countries around the world to curb the danger created by speeding drivers. Most nations have implemented reduced speed zones in areas near schools and on narrow roadways. Speed bumps and speed tables have been added to areas where speeding has been known to be an issue. Higher fines have been put in place for speeding in sensitive areas such as construction zones and school zones to keep pedestrians safe. All of these factors further incentivize drivers to drive slower and drive more carefully.
In a world where others are speeding, what can someone due to keeping themselves safe from the danger? There are many actions a common driver can take in order to protect themselves on the road. The obvious first step is to not speed yourself. While others may choose to speed on the road, you do not have to speed with them. When you drive the speed limit, you bring a bit more safety to everyone on the road.
Driving defensively and having the right auto insurance is the best way to go. Avoid common distractions such as using your cell phone or constantly changing the radio settings while driving. Be mindful of other drivers, where they are around you, and their speed in relation to your own. Practice the 3-4 second rule, which states that you should stay at least 3 to 4 seconds behind the vehicle in front of you, and no closer than that. There are many aspects to defensive driving that can keep you much safer on the road, no matter how anyone else drives around you.
Also be sure to take care of your vehicle in terms of maintenance. While this may not seem to relate directly to speeding drivers, it is good practice to regularly maintain your car so nothing goes wrong with it while you drive. If you ignore issues like weak brakes or a bad engine, you could find yourself causing a hazard on the road, making it all that much more likely that you can cause an accident. Combine this with speeding drivers trying to avoid you as your car breaks down, and your chances of an accident are multiplied greatly. Always be sure you take care of your vehicle maintenance.
Despite all of these facts on the dangers of speeding, things are improving. In 2003, the United States saw approximately 13,000 deaths related to speeding. By 2012, that number had reduced to approximately 10,000. Awareness of speeding as a cause of death is growing, as more Driver’s Education classes emphasize the dangers, as well as the driving tests. Car manufacturers also have upgraded the quality and number of airbags in their newest vehicles, and are now building vehicle frames and windows with stronger materials.
The best way to keep yourself safer on the road is to simply not speed yourself. Plan to leave earlier for your destination so you don’t need to hurry. Anticipate the traffic you will be in and drive accordingly. Every step you take to change your own driving habits keeps you just a bit safer no matter what the other drivers may be doing. If these aren’t good enough reasons, save yourself the cost of the accident, the loss of fuel economy, and the price of a speeding ticket, too.