How Speed Can Effect Driving Response Times

When you’re on the road and realize you’ll be late to your destination, it can be tempting to floor the gas pedal and drive over the speed limit to get there faster. Contrary to popular belief, speeding rarely saves you time. One study found that going too fast saves drivers only two minutes a week on average. Additionally, speeding is dangerous. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), speeding contributes to one-third of fatal vehicle crashes. Even if a driver isn’t traveling outrageously fast, they’re still increasing the chances of a collision. Ten miles over the speed limit may not feel risky, but it affects driving response times and makes it more challenging to respond to hazards.

What Is Driving Response Time?

Let’s say you’re behind the wheel and see a pedestrian on the road up ahead. Your driving response time is how long it takes to identify what’s happening and respond. In many cases, a driver responds to an unexpected situation by braking. The average response time is around 3/4ths of a second. This time can be slowed down by various contributing factors, including distracted driving and driving under the influence. Inexperienced and sleep-deprived drivers also have more difficulty detecting threats and stopping in time.

How Can Speed Affect Driving Response Times?

The faster you’re driving, the longer it takes to come to a complete stop. Let’s say the speed limit on a road is 40 miles per hour. A driver traveling the exact speed limit has an overall stopping time of 89 feet. Someone going 80 miles per hour has an average stopping time of 439 feet, more than the length of a football field. The faster car’s stopping time is nearly five times more than the slower vehicle, which makes a difference in an unexpected driving situation. A driver moving at 60 miles per hour — 20 miles over the posted limit — has a stopping time nearly double the person driving the limit.

A speeding driver can be attentive, but that won’t be enough to protect them on the road. Even if you notice a road hazard and respond quickly, you have no control over how long it takes your car to come to a complete stop. If you’re speeding and realize a car from another direction has no intention of heeding a stop sign, you’ll instinctively move your foot from the gas to the brake pedal. Because you’re driving too fast, you’re at a disadvantage due to how long it takes your car to completely stop.

Speeding and Comparative Negligence

Speeding impacts your ability to recover damages after an Ohio car accident. Using the above example, say another driver runs a stop sign, and you aren’t able to brake in time. They hit your car, and you’re injured in the crash. If you were going above the speed limit, you might be found partially negligent, even if the other driver is primarily responsible. Ohio has a comparative negligence law, meaning your damages are reduced depending on how negligent you were during the crash. If you’re awarded $150,000 at a jury trial but found 30% at fault for the crash, your actual compensation will be reduced by 30%. In Ohio, you’re not entitled to damages if you’re found to be more than 50% at fault.

How To Stop Speeding 

Once you’re aware of the dangers of driving over the speed limit and how it affects your response time, it’s time to commit not to speed anymore. Even if speeding doesn’t cause a traffic crash, it carries hefty fines and can even lead to a driver’s license suspension. 

Leave early. One of the most common reasons drivers speed is because they’re stressed out about running late. The most effective way to avoid this is by giving yourself ample time to make it to your destination, accounting for traffic and other potential delays.

Pay attention. Have you ever been cruising on the highway and been surprised when you looked down at the speedometer and saw how fast you were driving? Not all speeding is intentional, so it’s important to be mindful of your dashboard.

Monitor your mood. You might be more inclined to behave recklessly on the road when feeling off. If you think you’re not in the right headspace for driving, it’s worth pushing your trip back until you feel better.

If you’ve been involved in a car crash, Murray & Murray can help. Our firm has extensive experience with Ohio car crashes and is here to answer any questions you may have. Contact us at 419-664-3711 or through our website for more information.