In early January, a PSA from the New Zealand Transport Agency quickly went viral. The video which targets speeders uses compelling freeze-frames and dialogue between two drivers on the verge of a devastating accident. The message is simple: “Other people make mistakes. Slow down.” When traveling at a high rate of speed, there is simply no time to adjust for mistakes made by other drivers. More so than nearly any other factor, speeding can lead to collisions. In fact, it has been shown to triple the chances of being involved in an accident and, in years past, has been cited as a factor in one-third of fatal crashes.
Much attention has been given to driver impairments such as alcohol or distracting activities such as texting or talking on a cellphone, and many drivers take care to avoid these. However, many, who would otherwise be considered safe drivers, often exceed the speed limit. In one survey of nearly 1,000 drivers, two-thirds admitted to speeding and 43 percent of them thought doing so was not a threat to safety if it was only 10 MPH over the posted speed limit. Yet, when traveling only at 30 MPH in a 20 MPH speed zone, stopping distance is increased by 47 feet and continues to go up with the speed of the vehicle. For drivers doing 80 MPH in a 70 MPH speed zone, stopping distance goes up by an astounding 97 feet.
So, what can you do to protect yourself and your loved ones from being involved in a speed-related collision? Here are just a few suggestions to keep you safe:
- Stay Focused and Aware – Check your mirrors regularly and keep your focus several seconds ahead of your vehicle in order to anticipate upcoming conditions. Avoid distractions including cellphones, interacting with passengers, or eating and drinking while driving.
- Use Safety Restraints – Always use a seatbelt to minimize the risk of injury or fatality in the event of an accident. Make sure that children are properly restrained in appropriate boosters or car seats and that the seats are properly secured to the car.
- Use the 3 Second Rule – The 3 second rule helps ensure a safe following distance between yourself and the driver in front of you. Choose a stationary object along the side of the road, when the vehicle in front of you passes it, begin slowly counting to 3. If you reach the object before you are done counting, you are following too close and should reduce your speed. For added safety, increase the rule to 4 seconds if driving during inclement weather.
- Obey Posted Speed Limits – While you may not be able to control how fast other drivers are going, keeping your own speed within the posted limits will help keep you and others on the road safe. Even going just a few miles over the limit can have devastating consequences and makes minimal difference in arrival times.
Speeding, especially when just a few miles over the limit, may seem harmless, and many drivers are guilty of it. However, there can be very real and sometimes even fatal consequences for not slowing down. Do your part to keep yourself and other drivers safe by obeying all traffic laws including following the speed limit, obeying all posted traffic signs, and wearing your seatbelt.
If you were in an accident that was not your fault in or around the Baton Rouge area, and speeding was a contributing factor, contact the law offices of Spencer Calahan and ask to speak with one of our qualified car accident lawyers for a free case evaluation. You can contact us by clicking here or calling us directly at (225) 387-2323.