Many drivers ardently believe that “speeding alone does not actually cause crashes,” but even though the over-simplification contained in that phrase is not totally inaccurate (see below), in real life-and-death terms it is both misleading and deadly…
The fact is that very few crashes are caused by one factor alone, and this includes speeding, so the claim in the opening paragraph is effectively bound to be right. But this also serves to illustrate that clinging to this claim as being any sort of proof that speeding is not inherently unsafe is worthless.
A good example of this is the ongoing efforts to continually increase the world land-speed record, over recent decades. The photograph above shows the Bloodhound SSC car that is propelled by a Typhoon/Eurofighter jet engine and which is intended, in the near future, to break the 1,000mph barrier. If the “car” stays completely flat and straight, and has no critical mechanical failures then there is a very good chance that it will travel extremely fast and not crash …. But it will be driven on an empty salt-flat, not a public road with a vast array of potential dangers!
The real-life “equation” for driving on public roads, however, is frighteningly simple:
(a) The faster a car is travelling, the less time a driver will have to react to any hazardous situation that comes into sight;
(b) The faster the car is travelling, the further it will take to stop it, so if it cannot be stopped before reaching the hazard, it will be in collision;
(c) The faster a car is travelling at the moment of impact, the greater will be the damage, the more serious the injuries and the higher the risk of death;
(d) The more extreme the measures taken by a driver to avoid a collision as outlined in a, b, and c, above, the more likely s/he is to cause a secondary collision or involve other road users in the incident before even reaching the original hazard.
(e) a, b and c are laws of physics — the only laws that no driver can break!
The fact is that around the developed countries of the world, each one identifies about 30 percent of all their annual road deaths as involving excess or inappropriate speed as a factor, and this is a huge and deadly problem.
Any Fool can Drive Fast Enough to be Dangerous!
For the USA, this means that, if people would stop driving too fast, around ten thousand lives could be saved each year… But those drivers that do speed, will still ignorantly argue that “speeding alone does not actually cause crashes.” And sadly, that is misguided hogwash.
For further information about accurate stopping distances, see: ADoNA: The Clear Leader in U.S. Driver Safety and Training – a Research Victory