Speeding | Traffic and Safety Updates

Sponsored by the National Road Safety Foundation

In 1999, speeding was a contributing factor in 30 percent of all fatal crashes, and 12,628 lives were lost in speeding-related crashes.  The economic cost to society of speeding-related crashes is estimated by the NHTSA to be $28 billion per year.  Speeding is a deliberate and calculated behavior where the driver knows the risk but ignores the danger.  Fully 90 percent of all licensed drivers speed at some point in their driving career, and 75 percent admit to committing this offense regularly.

Excessive Speeding Is Not the Only Problem

Most people would probably agree that going 100 mph is foolishly dangerous and will very likely lead to a disastrous car accident.  The problem is that exceeding the speed limit by only 5 mph in the wrong place can be just as dangerous.  That is why traffic engineers as well as Federal, State and local governments have determined the maximum speeds allowable for safe travel on the nation’s roadways.

Consider this example of a pedestrian accident caused by minor or moderate levels of speeding:

A pedestrian walks out into a crosswalk with an approaching car that is traveling at 30 mph.  If the driver brakes when the pedestrian is 45 feet away, there will be enough space to stop without hitting the pedestrian.  Now, increase the vehicle’s speed by just 5 mph, and the situation changes dramatically.  At 35 mph and the pedestrian 45 feet away, the car will be traveling at 18 mph when it hits the pedestrian.  A pedestrian accident at 18 mph can cause major injuries or even wrongful death.

Three-Second Rule Can Prevent Speeding Car Accidents

To prevent speeding car accidents, drivers should observe the three-second rule, no matter what speed you’re driving.  This is how the three-second rule works:

  • While driving, pick out a sign or pole on the side of the road.
  • When the car in front of you passes it, count off three seconds.
  • The front of your vehicle should not reach the marker before you reach three.
  • If you pass the marker before you reach the count of three, back off and try again.
  • Make sure, however, the three-second rule does not take your eyes off the road because that just sets the stage for another type of car accident.

Avoid Speeding to Prevent an Auto Accident

We wish that more people could understand how speeding does not save them much time and only increases the danger to themselves, passengers and others.  Moreover, parents are role models for their children.  If a parent speeds in the presence of a parent, how does that parent expect their teenager to drive?

Maybe the answer is that more people should just leave early.  If you are running late, it’s important to know that driving a few mph faster or impatiently tailgating other cars will not help.  Is it truly worth causing an auto accident just to arrive at your destination a few seconds earlier?

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Located in Philadelphia, PA, the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum is one of the world’s greatest collections of racing sports cars. Through our theme, “The Spirit of Competition”, we celebrate the history and evolution of these magnificent machines.

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