How Often Is Speeding A Factor In Fatal Car Accidents?By Gabriel Levin on August 28th, 2019
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speeding represents a contributing factor in 26 percent or more of fatal accidents, resulting in more than the loss of more than 13,000 lives across the United States each year. Many people assume that only high rates of speed will increase accident risk; however, in many cases, even traveling at a speed only slightly more than the posted speed limit can increase the risk of an accident. The faster a vehicle travels, the greater the accident risk. Nevertheless, many people continue to push the speed limit, including driving at speeds too high for the current road conditions. If you or a loved one has been injured or involved in an accident with someone speeding get to know the experienced Philadelphia car accident attorneys at The Levin Firm today.
Why Is Speeding Such a Problem?
Most people who choose to speed when driving do not consider it a significant problem. They feel that they simply pushed the vehicle a little faster, hopefully getting to their destinations sooner. Many drivers imagine that the worst thing that could happen includes getting a speeding ticket. Unfortunately, in reality, speeding can cause a number of problems for drivers.
- Speeding requires faster response time. If something happens or fast action is necessary to avoid a crash, you need quicker reaction times at higher rates of speed. Many roads have lower posted speed limits than you think they need due to unexpected hazards. If you choose to speed down those roads, you may come at those hazards at too high a rate of speed, causing an accident.
- Speeding inhibits the driver’s ability to move through curves and road hazards. When you speed, you may struggle to respond to curves in the road and keep your vehicle in the correct lane. Unfortunately, as your vehicle drifts into oncoming traffic, other drivers may have no idea how you plan to move. They may, as a result, fail to respond appropriately to your actions, increasing accident risk.
- High rates of speed require more room to stop. If a ball bounces out into the road, followed by a child, you will need more time to bring your car to a stop if you chose to speed. You may also need more stopping room to respond to an animal running out in the road or another driver slamming on the brakes in front of you.
- Speeding increases the force involved in an accident. During an accident, the force applied to your vehicle and the other driver’s vehicle increases along with your speed. If you suffer an accident while speeding, you may have to deal with increased force, which can in turn cause worse injuries or increase the risk of serious injury or death in an accident.
In addition, most of the time, speeding does not help the driver reach his destination any faster than traveling at a normal rate of speed. Traffic patterns may allow a driver to speed up briefly, only to force slower speeds a matter of seconds later. Red lights, stop signs, and traffic signals may also slow down the rate of travel, making speeding a poor way to use your time behind the wheel.
How Can You Prove the Other Driver was Speeding?
Did you suffer serious injuries in a traffic accident? If so, then you may want to attempt to prove that the other driver chose to speed, especially if those excess speeds contributed to the circumstances of the accident. While the driver’s speeding does not change the compensation you may receive from your accident, the driver may face other penalties as a result of speeding. In some cases, proving that the other driver chose to speed can also help prove that they caused part or all of your accident.
Make Sure You Summon the Police
Summoning the police to the scene of the accident will result in a police report of the accident. When you have a police report on file, it may help to establish fault in the accident. The responding officer may issue a citation regarding the other driver’s speed or simply choose to note it in the police report; however, as long as the officer chooses to record it, that speeding citation becomes part of the record for the accident.
Check Security Footage
Take a look at security footage of the accident, if you can locate it. In some cases, you may find traffic cameras recording the area around the scene of the accident. Timing the distance it took a car to travel between two cameras can help determine their rate of speed compared to other drivers. You may also check the footage and observe how the driver was moving compared to other drivers around him. If you cannot find traffic cameras in the vicinity of the accident, you may check security footage from local businesses, especially those with parking lot cameras or cameras posted close to the road.
Examine the Damage
In some cases, looking at the damage caused to your vehicle, the other driver’s vehicle, and any other vehicles or objects involved in the accident can help you better see whether the other driver chose to speed at the time of the accident. Because accidents at high rates of speed cause more serious damage than accidents at lower speeds, excessive damage to the vehicles involved in the accident could indicate higher rates of speed at the time of the accident.
Check Witness Information
Did anyone else witness the accident? Witnesses can help determine whether a driver was speeding at the time of the accident, especially if the driver chose to travel at a very high rate of speed or engaged in other dangerous driving behaviors. Often, other drivers on the road at the time of the accident can help put together the events that led to the accident, including a driver who may have raced by them shortly before colliding with you. Witnesses can also give other useful information about the accident, including whether the driver chose to engage in dangerous behaviors like checking his cell phone while driving or displaying signs of inebriation.
Bring in an Attorney
Many attorneys, including the attorneys at The Levin Firm, have access to accident reconstruction specialists, including speed reconstruction experts who can help piece together what happened during the accident. By working with an attorney to help file a claim following the accident, you can get access to those accident reconstruction accidents, which will help you get a better picture of exactly what occurred at the time of the accident.
How Can You Stay Safer on the Road?
Many drivers, on learning about the dangers of speeding, take steps to keep their speed down, but ultimately find their rate of travel creeping up anyway. How can you keep yourself and your passengers safe from excessive speeding on the road, including both your speed and that of other drivers? Try some of these important strategies.
- Leave plenty of time to reach your destination. When you set out in your car, whether you need to drive to an appointment or you’re setting out for a longer trip, make sure you leave with plenty of time to spare. When you’re in a hurry, you grow more likely to speed due to impatience or worry about reaching your appointment late. When you have plenty of time to get to your destination, on the other hand, you can comfortably take your time, without feeling the pinch or the worry.
- Keep an eye on the speedometer. Do not fall into the trap of just watching the vehicles around you. If other drivers choose to speed, it does not automatically mean that you should do the same, nor does it mean that you can increase your speed safely. Instead, watch the speedometer when driving, especially if you get behind the wheel of an unfamiliar vehicle.
- Check the speed limit for the area. When you drive through an unfamiliar area, especially down curvy back roads, make sure you have a good idea of the speed limit. Always check speed limit signs as you pass them. Speed limits may change unexpectedly as the road changes, and if you do not know the roads, you may not know where that change occurs. Pay close attention to the speed limit. Some GPS programs also provide information about the speed limit. When in doubt, fire it up before getting behind the wheel so that you can avoid speeding through those unfamiliar areas.
- Slow down in inclement weather. When rain splashes down around you or the roads start to ice, you may need to drop your speed. Slower speeds can make it easier to navigate on wet or icy roads. If you feel uncomfortable at a certain speed or start to slide, drop your speed further to allow for safe navigation.
- Get out of the way of speeding drivers, if possible. Keeping yourself and your passengers safe from speeding does not just mean keeping an eye on your own speeds. You should also watch for other speeding drivers on the road. If you see another vehicle coming up too fast behind you, move out of the way. If you have another lane, merge into the slow lane and allow the speeding driver to pass. If you cannot move into another lane, consider pulling over and allowing the speeding driver to pass. Getting out of the way can keep you and your passengers safer even if it takes more time to reach your destination.
- Consider an alternate route. Have you noticed a driver near you who constantly speeds by, only to get trapped by a red light or traffic a few moments later? Do you find yourself constantly drifting near that driver? Consider finding an alternate way to reach your destination. Even if you add time to your trip, getting away from a speeding driver can increase your safety and that of your passengers.
- Use cruise control when needed. On long trips, in particular, you may grow tempted to increase your rate of speed, especially as that road haze takes over and you start to feel as though you can handle faster speeds. Unfortunately, the longer you spend on the road, the easier it becomes to speed. To help avoid speeding, set your cruise control (at or below the posted speed limit) to help prevent you from allowing your speed to creep up.
- Use an app. Apps like Speed Tracker can track your current speed and the speed limit of the area, letting you know when you exceed the posted speed limit. These apps can provide notifications as soon as your speed starts creeping up, which may make it easier for you to avoid speeding. Your vehicle’s on-board GPS may also issue warnings when you creep above the speed limit, as long as it is running. You can also check with your insurance company to see if the company offers an app that tracks safe driving behavior: not only will it let you know when you speed, it may help save money on your car insurance.
- Hold yourself accountable. Installing a dashcam, for example, will let you know that you have recorded evidence every time you choose to speed. Linking your phone to your spouse’s and installing an app that will notify you when you speed can also increase accountability and decrease the likelihood that you will choose to speed. You can also ask your kids to help hold you accountable: a small voice from the back seat asking if about the speed limit and the speed on your speedometer can quickly encourage you to slow down and remember the precious cargo you have on board.
- Keep practicing safe driving behaviors. If you find yourself speeding, do not despair and simply assume that you cannot learn new ways to drive. Instead, keep trying. The more you work on driving safely, the more likely it grows that you will actually engage in safe driving behaviors.
Speeding makes serious impacts on many drivers, especially if they suffer accidents as a result of those high rates of speed. If you suffer injuries in an accident with a speeding driver, make sure you contact a Philadelphia car accident lawyer as soon as possible to help you seek the compensation you deserve.