I get asked all the time if it’s acceptable to exceed the speed limit when keeping up with the flow of traffic. Well, here’s what the people who are going to give you a speeding ticket have to say:
But what, you wonder, if everyone on the highway is going 75 and the speed limit is 55? Aren’t I causing danger by going so slow compared to the rest of the traffic? No. This is a fallacy created by people who like to speed. The people going 75 are the ones causing the danger because their increase in speed has substantially increased their risk of death. Simply put, speed kills. There is no data to suggest that driving the speed limit (or slightly below it) is, by itself, ever a cause of a crash. What you should do in this situation is move to the right-most lane and continue driving the speed limit. The drivers that want to drive 75 will simply pass you. Hopefully, you’ll pass them later as they’re receiving a hefty speeding ticket.
Teenagers love to drive fast. Your job is to do whatever you can to stop your teen from speeding. The reason is simple: nearly 30% of all fatal crashes involve speeding. For people aged 15-20, the percentage of fatal crashes involving speeding jumps up to 38%. Bottom line: Get your teen to drive the speed limit and you’ve significantly decreased the risk of them dying in a fatal car crash.
Don’t Single Out the Highways
Many parents become so preoccupied with preventing their teenager from speeding on the highway, that they don’t focus on the real killer: everything but the interstate! Over 85% of all speed-related fatal crashes occur on non-interstate roads. I’m not saying to let your teens speed on the highway. What I’m saying is to make sure that your teens don’t speed anywhere because speed kills no matter what type of road you’re on.
Set a Good Example
Always drive at or below the speed limit when you’re behind the wheel. Your teenager will get the message.
Speeding Doesn’t Save Time
While speeding may make you feel as if you’re getting to your destination quicker, it’s simply not the case. The average commute is fraught with traffic lights, stop signs, and cars traveling the speed limit which eat up most of the time saved by exceeding the speed limit. If you watch a car that is speeding, you’ll notice them weaving dangerously in and out of traffic as well as braking and accelerating wildly. You’ll also probably find them fuming at the next red light…as you pull up comfortably behind them.
By going drastically over the speed limit, you’re simply asking for all kinds of trouble: tickets, car crashes, and even fatalities. There’s really no benefit from speeding.
Know Your Speed
In order to stay under the speed limit, your teen needs to know how fast they’re traveling. You can encourage them to check their speedometer every 15-20 seconds so that they don’t inadvertently drift over the speed limit. I suggest that you periodically ask your teen to state their current speed without first looking at the speedometer. This will help them develop a sense or “feel” of their car’s speed.
Braking Distance and Speed is not a linear relationship
The faster you’re traveling, the longer it’s going to take you to stop. However, the braking distance at 60mph is not simply double that of 30mph. In fact, if you double your speed, the distance to stop is going to be four times greater. This is because the relationship between velocity and stopping distance is geometric. Simplified, stopping distance = velocity^2. So, the stopping distance at 75mph is nine times longer than at 25mph ( (75/25)^2 = 9). This is also why it’s so important to increase your following distance as your speed increases: because it takes you so much longer to stop!