Breaking the speed limit can significantly influence whether or not a car accident happens. A speeding driver has shorter reaction times, for example, and may be more likely to lose control of their car. They may also be unable to stop if something unexpected happens, like a pedestrian walking into the street or a light suddenly turning red.
But there’s another component to consider with car accidents, which is the fact that speed can change the severity of the injuries. Two accidents that happen at different speeds are going to be far different, even if all other factors are the same. The faster vehicles are moving, the more severe the injuries will be and the greater the odds of a fatality.
10 MPH of increase
To see how this works, consider what happens when a vehicle increases its speed by just 10 miles an hour. Studies have found that this doubles the odds that someone would pass away in an accident.
For example, say that someone is driving along at 60 MPH. They realize they’re going to be late for work, so they speed up to 80 MPH. If they cause an accident while driving so quickly, the risk of a fatality in that crash is four times higher than if they were only driving at 60 MPH.
This is important to know because many drivers incorrectly see a speed increase as a minor issue. They’ll drive 45 miles an hour in a 45-MPH zone, for instance, without thinking it makes the road that much more dangerous.
But these studies show how untrue that is and how fatal accidents become much more likely. If you’ve lost a loved one in a car accident or suffered serious injuries yourself, you may be able to seek compensation from the driver who caused the crash.