Is Driving Faster Actually Safer?
The speed limit is an ongoing debate. Is it safer to drive faster or is it safer to drive slower? The answer may surprise you but it is actually safer to drive at a higher rate of speed. With cars constantly advancing with more horsepower and cutting edge technology that enhances safety, we are seeing speed limits slowly creep up. As a matter of fact, we are already seeing countries such as Germany using highways without speed limits.
Now there are a number of reasons why driving faster is safer.
- First is the actual driving.
Most accidents are caused by people not driving fast but by driving dangerously. There is a huge difference even though most people usually think that dangerous driving is fast driving, which is wrong. Accidents are caused when drivers drive too slowly in a high speed zone or by drivers who are driving in an unpredictable and erratic manner. This is the kind of driving that causes accidents, not fast driving.
- Secondly, drivers driving slightly faster than the average speed.
They are less likely to get in an accident than drivers who are going slower or more “safely” as they are most likely thinking. (Source: “Speed Zoning on Texas Highways” State Department of Highways and Public Transportation, Austin, Texas October 1990) This data was from nearly thirty years ago, so imagine now with more sophisticated driving and safer vehicles capable of higher speeds, which is actually how speed limits are developed.
- Lastly, when a speed limit is put into place, a study is conducted.
This study takes a look at the speed that drivers go in certain locations. It is actually shown that many drivers do not pay attention to the speed limit but drive at a speed they feel comfortable, and as cars become more sophisticated, this speed increases. An agency will take a look at the average speed of these drivers and devise a speed limit that matches that speed; this is called the prevailing speed. Since most drivers are driving at this speed or within this speed, it is actually the safest even if it is fairly fast.
So yes, driving faster is safer than driving slower if conditions permit. For example, it is not a good idea to over speed in a residential area. In conclusion, you can drive faster but you need to be smart about it. You can drive fast or slow but you need to put safety as the first and foremost priority – always.
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