Speed limits are in place to help prevent severe collisions from occurring. What many people don’t realize is how going just a few miles per hour over that limit could lead to much more significant injuries than if they were below it.
The risk of injuries coincides with the speed at which you’re traveling, but reducing your speed by 50% doesn’t necessarily reduce your risk of injuries by 50%. Similarly, speeding up by 5 mph might increase your risk by a significant margin.
As speed increases, crash rates do, too
Something to keep in mind is that it’s harder to keep control of your vehicle when you’re traveling quickly. When you reduce your speed, you maintain better control. Speeding up multiplies risk. In fact, an increase in speed of approximately 1 km/h, around .62 mph, is enough to increase the incidence of injury crashes by 3%.
Speed increases the risk of injuries, as well
There is a much higher risk of you getting hurt while traveling at 45 mph compared to 25 mph, just as there is a greater risk at 100 mph versus 65 mph. When you speed up, you increase the risk of a crash with much more crash energy. That energy has to be dissipated somehow, and in most cases, that means that your body will take on more of the impact.
By speeding up from 40 to 60 mph, you actually increase the potential energy in a crash by up to 125%. Knowing this, you can see why car crashes at 40 mph tend to have victims who can walk away while those at 60 mph are much, much more serious.
Speed is something you can control
Speed is fortunately controllable, which means that you have at least one factor that you can manage in the case of a pending collision. If you see that you’re about to get into a crash, slowing down as much as possible may help you better protect yourself and those in your vehicle. Even if the other vehicle is traveling at a high speed, your reduced speed will decrease the risk of injuries and fatalities exponentially.