Speeding can cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles, increase stopping time, and decrease the effectiveness of safety mechanisms.
With our hectic schedules, it should come as no surprise that people sometimes ignore posted speed limits to get from Point A to Point B a little faster. However, driving faster than the speed limit or faster than is safe for road conditions can be disastrous in the event of an accident.
How Speeding Can Cause an Accident
Speeding contributes to Fort Lauderdale car accidents in the following ways:
- Higher speeds increase your chances of losing control. Speeding drivers may be more likely to swerve into oncoming traffic or nearby barriers accidentally. Losing control of your vehicle can cause a rollover accident.
- Speed increases stopping time and distance. The faster you drive, the more time and distance you will need to stop your vehicle. If you are speeding and suddenly notice debris on the roadway or a stopped vehicle in front of you, you may not have enough time or space to brake and end up in an accident.
- High-speed collisions often result in severe injuries. High-speed collisions often cause severe whiplash, resulting in the jarring of the brain and skull and serious neck and spinal injuries. You may also hit your head on the steering wheel, windshield, or another hard surface. At high speeds, this impact can end your life on the spot or cause significant brain damage.
- Vehicle safety features may not work as intended at higher speeds. Safety belts and airbags protect drivers and passengers from severe injuries by reducing the force of the impact. If you are traveling too fast and become involved in an accident, these safety features may not function properly.
How many Accidents are Speeding-Related?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speeding played a role in 27 percent of all 2015 fatal motor vehicle accidents. In the United States, there were 9,557 speeding-related fatalities in 2015. The percentage of speeding-related fatalities increased 3 percent from 2014 to 2015.
Many speeding drivers in fatal crashes operate their vehicles while intoxicated at night. In fact, nearly 45 percent of speeding drivers in fatal crashes had a blood alcohol content of .01 or more.
In Florida, 320 traffic deaths, or 11 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2015, were speeding-related. Florida had the lowest percentage of speeding-related traffic fatalities in the country in 2015, but we still had far too many. If you were injured as a result of a speeding driver, a Florida car accident attorney can advise you of your rights.
What Behaviors Cause Speed-Related Accidents?
Speed limits indicate the maximum speed a driver can go, assuming there are favorable traffic and weather conditions. Drivers may cause accidents by engaging in the following behaviors:
- Driving too fast. Many people mistakenly believe that traveling five to 10 miles over the speed limit is not speeding. However, even traveling just a few miles over the speed limit can have serious consequences. Excessive speeding can be particularly dangerous.
- Driving too slowly. Driving too slowly can be just as dangerous as driving too fast. If you drive 10 miles per hour or slower than surrounding traffic, you are more likely to be in an accident.
- Failing to maintain a reasonable speed. Just because the posted speed limit is 70 mph does not mean you should drive at that speed during a thunderstorm. Drivers who fail to consider weather conditions, traffic conditions, roadway construction, and other factors when driving may end up causing an accident, even if they are not technically exceeding the speed limit.
The Role of Speeding in Auto Accident Injuries and Severity
Speeding is a major contributing factor in many serious and fatal car accidents. Excessive speed reduces a driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle and respond to changing road conditions, leading to loss of control collisions. Higher speeds also multiply the force of impact when a crash does occur, exacerbating injuries and vehicle damage.
Studies by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that higher speeds dramatically increase the risk of being involved in an accident as well as the severity of injuries sustained by all parties. Even small increases above posted speed limits produce disproportionate elevations in crash risk and fatality rates. This is because the energy during a collision increases exponentially with speed.
For example, a pedestrian struck by a vehicle traveling at 20 mph has an approximately 10% risk of death. But for a pedestrian hit at 40 mph, the fatality risk jumps to 80%. The risk is near 100% at speeds over 50 mph. Occupants inside speeding vehicles experience similarly increased injury severity when crashing at higher velocities they cannot properly control.
Excess speed also reduces the effectiveness of vehicle safety features designed to protect occupants in a crash. Airbags, seatbelts and crumple zones all depend on vehicles colliding at moderate speeds to function properly. When collision speed increases too far beyond design parameters, occupant protection systems cannot prevent serious injuries.
In addition to managing speed, drivers must account for road conditions, traffic, visibility, and vehicle capabilities to maintain safety margins and avoid loss of control. An experienced auto accident attorney can help determine if excessive speed contributed to an injury-causing accident and help victims pursue compensation from speeding drivers. Reducing excessive speed is critical to improving road safety and saving lives.
What to do if You are Injured in a Speeding Crash
If you suffer injuries in a car accident caused by a speeding driver, you should first get yourself and your vehicle to safety, if possible. Move your vehicle out of traffic.
After that, check any passengers in your car and the other vehicle for injuries.
Call Law Enforcement
You should call 9-1-1 after an accident to dispatch emergency medical services if needed. A police officer will also likely arrive at the crash scene to file a report and issue traffic citations if any. This report will help later when you file an insurance claim or lawsuit against the negligent party.
If possible, gather evidence at the scene of the accident, such as:
- Photos and videos
- Witness statements and contact information
- The responding officer’s information
- The other driver’s information
Hire an Attorney from Our Firm
Some personal injury victims choose to hire an attorney from our team after a car accident because it helps them focus on recovery while we help ensure they get the compensation they are entitled to. We could help you recover awards for your losses, including:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Reduced future earnings
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
Call the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine for a Free Consultation
If you are ever involved in a high-speed collision, contact the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine. Our personal injury attorneys can help you file an insurance claim for benefits as well as file a lawsuit against the speeding driver if you have severe injuries. Contact us for a free consultation.
We Can Help.