High speeds and auto accidents

The risk of a serious or fatal injury in auto accidents grows as speed increases, and drivers should take care accordingly.

When people are driving on California freeways, it is not unusual to see some motorists traveling 10 or even 20 miles over the posted speed limit. However, such behavior puts everyone on the road at risk. It is important for people to understand that speed plays a role in the severity of a car crash and the degree of injury that occurs.

How speed impacts accidents

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety points out that when cars are moving at a higher speed, the energy of a collision also increases. This is especially true for speeds of 60 miles per hour. Speed also affects a vehicle's distance needed for stopping. The faster the car is going, the more time it will take to slow it down. Another factor that influences the impact of a crash is the increase of time it takes for a driver to react to a dangerous situation from the moment the driver notices the situation.

For example, if a driver is going down a freeway at 80 miles per hour and traffic suddenly slows down, the driver will have less time to react to the change. If the driver isn't paying attention, the driver may not have the time needed to avoid a crash.

The statistics

When considering speed as a factor in a car accident, law enforcement look at situations such as whether drivers were racing each other, if people were disregarding road conditions and driving faster than they should have been, or if people were breaking the speed limit. In collisions that were fatal or resulted in injuries during 2014, the IIHS states that 14 percent involved speed. This means more than 9,000 people lost their lives because someone was driving faster than necessary.

Taking care when driving at higher speeds

Due to the nature of freeway driving, there are some specific safe practices that drivers should keep in mind, such as those in the following list:

  • People should pull as far off the road as they can when their cars are having issues.
  • Drivers should exercise a safe following distance and avoid tailgating.
  • Cars moving too slow or too fast have a higher risk of getting in accidents. Speed limit signs should always be obeyed.
  • Distracted driving, which includes the use of cellphones, can be very dangerous. Drivers should stay fully focused on the road to avoid accidents on the freeway .
  • It is important for drivers to take care when driving through work zones.
  • Being alert and well-rested makes a big difference in driver safety.

In addition to the above advice, drivers should also be aware that driving under the influence is not only illegal, but it jeopardizes the safety of the driver and everyone else on the road. Nowhere is safe to drive under the influence, but on the freeway, risk of accidental fatality is even greater.

People who have been injured in an auto accident in the Irvine area may be entitled to financial compensation. Medical costs can be expensive, and the pain and suffering caused by an unexpected collision can be life-changing. Those who are interested in exploring their options may want to consult an attorney in the area who practices personal injury law.