Speeding just a little doesn’t really count does it? Sadly the truth is very different. You see it’s not stopping distances that you should think about, it’s the difference between hitting people at different speeds.
That is the main message I came away with after a morning on a Speed Awareness Course. And along with twenty or so other people it certainly made an impact on me. Here are a few basic facts to keep in mind
If you get hit by a car at 20 mph – you have 9/10 chances of surviving
If you get hit by a car at 40 mph – you have 9/10 chances of dying!
But what the heck does that mean in the real world. Basically it means that speed is far deadlier a weapon than you thought, but how does that translate into everyday driving around where you live?
It also explains just how dangerous even slight speeding can be – for pedestrians, cyclists and any other vulnerable people who aren’t in their cocooned motor vehicles.
“But,” you say, “I was only doing 35 in a 30 zone, surely that isn’t dangerous?”
Up until this morning I would have gone along with that, but they demonstrated to us just how much of a difference each extra mile per hour causes.
If you are on a normal road in fine conditions and are doing 30mph and pull up to avoid an accident it takes around six car lengths to stop – or a quarter of a football pitch if that makes it easier to visualise. So far, so good. You have stopped just short of the pedestrian or accident.
But if you were doing just 32mph and braked exactly as before then you would hit it at 11mph. Now that is enough to give them a good shaking up, and if they are elderly, then probably broken a few bones as well! Not a nice situation at all!
Had you been doing just 35mph then you would have hit them at 18mph and you have upped the dangerous consequences dramatically. In fact you even stand a 1 in 10 chance of killing them!
It is that difference in impact speed that is crucial and that is why even slightly exceeding the speed limits can prove so dangerous. Not to us if we are in the car, but to the other people out there. So please have a thought for those fools out there who are not inside an air conditioned airbagged and incredibly safe machine, unlike you!
Oh and remember something, if you do go that bit slower, then you can avoid all those insurance scamsters!