As people stay home and off the roads, we are certainly seeing a reduction in car crashes around the country. Another trend, in the opposite direction, is the amount of speeding citations that continue to rise as the roads stay relatively empty. Several states across the country are reporting an increase in speeding on their streets along with a larger accident rate. Police officers in New York, Minnesota, Utah, and even Colorado have claimed drivers are starting to drive more recklessly, likely because of the empty roads seeming less dangerous. Although most would think that the absence of as many cars on the road would lead to fewer accidents, the higher speeds on our empty Colorado roads may increase the rate at which accidents happen and how severe they are.
Why Speed Matters
Speeding is one of the highest contributing factors to car accidents especially when we talk about the severity of crashes and the injuries resulting from them. According to the World Health Organization, accidents involving speeding account for about 30% of the deaths on the road in high income nations and almost 50% of traffic deaths in middle to low income countries.
The speed at which a car is moving affects the overall outcome of a collision or even the chances of the collision happening in the first place. One of the first and most obvious factors is that the faster a car is moving the more severe the impact will be during the crash. Many drivers do not process the risk of driving only a few miles over the speed limit, in fact it is not uncommon for the average driver to speed 5mph-10mph over the limit. The unfortunate truth is that for very 1% of increase speed of your vehicle, there is a 3% increase in the likelihood that you will be involved in a collision, and a 4% increase in the chance of fatality (study by University of California).
Drivers’ Reactions with Speed
Another factor that speed affects is the amount of space you and your vehicle need to appropriately react or stop when an unexpected obstacle appears. For example, when someone is driving 30mph it is estimated that they will need 75 feet to react and stop, or about six car lengths. If someone is driving 50mph they will need an average of about thirteen car lengths to stop, or more than double the amount of space the driver at 30mph needed. These variables are all assuming that the driver is alert and ready to react, which is not necessarily always the case. The reaction time and amount of space needed to stop will vary and likely be higher if the driver is drowsy, under the influence, or distracted.
Speeding and Colorado Roads
In recent weeks CSPD (Colorado Springs Police Department) has reported an increase in speeding vehicles on I-25, with drivers hitting the ranges of 90mph to even 120mph, in a 65mph speed limit zone. As you have read in this blog, the likelihood of being in a severe accident at these speeds are multiplied, which puts people in an increased risk of traumatic injury or even death. Not only do individuals put themselves at higher risk while speeding but the increase in severe accidents can also take away resources from local hospitals which could instead be used in the fight against COVID-19. Driving safely and at the designated speed limits does not only help keep our Colorado hospitals from being overwhelmed, it also gives you a better chance of staying safe and healthy.
McDivitt is Here for You
If you or someone you know has been in serious car crash and suffered injuries, give McDivitt a call to be sure all your medical bills are taken care of and your rights are protected. Injuries that result from car crashes can require years of treatment, which result in medical bills that need to be covered. Your legal team will make sure the insurance companies pay what you are entitled to after an accident, so we can help get you back to your life. Call us today so we can get started on your case. You can see how we are operating and continuing to serve and fight for our clients during this uncertain time here.