Does Speeding Increase the Risk and Severity of a Sacramento Car Crash?

dashboard showing car speeding at 140 mphMany drivers speed without a second thought. They are either ignoring the risks or they do not know how dangerous it is to speed.

Below, Arnold Law Firm’s experienced attorneys address the risks of speeding, including how it increases the risk of a crash and the risk of suffering severe injuries in a crash. We also review California laws on speeding.

If you have been injured in a crash due to speeding or another form of driver negligence, call our firm today. Our experienced Sacramento car crash lawyers are here to assist you. An initial legal consultation is free and comes with no legal obligations.

Schedule your FREE case review today. (916) 777-7777

Does Speeding Increase the Risk of a Crash?

Speeding significantly increases the risk of a car accident:

  • Increasing your average speed by five percent puts you at a 10 percent higher risk of getting into an injury accident and 20 percent higher risk of getting into a fatal collision, according to a study done by the World Health Organization.
  • The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reviewed the impact of higher speed limits on fatal crash risks on interstates and freeways. Researchers discovered that raising the speed limit by just five miles per hour (mph) was linked to an eight percent jump in the fatality rate. The fatality rate on other roads increased three percent after a five-mph speed limit increase.

Each year, speed is a contributing factor in a large percentage of collisions, especially fatal collisions. In 2022 alone, more than 12,000 people died in speeding-related accidents. This accounted for just under 30 percent of all fatal crashes in 2022. This is according to data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Why does Speeding Make You More Likely to Crash?

These are the main reasons why speeding increases your risk of a crash:

  • Reduced Reaction Time: One of the main problems with speeding is that it reduces drivers’ reaction times, making it harder for them to slow, stop or make another maneuver to avoid a collision.
  • Increased Stopping Distance: The faster a vehicle travels, the longer it takes to come to a complete stop, increasing the likelihood of a crash. While speeding is dangerous no matter where you are, it is particularly risky on roads with higher speed limits.
  • Loss of Vehicle Control: Speeding can make it more difficult to control the vehicle, especially on wet or icy roads or sharp turns. Drivers often lose control because they are reacting to danger, but this can cause them to swerve off the road or into another lane without warning. This is particularly risky in residential or urban areas, construction zones, mountainous areas and on ramps.

How Does Speeding Affect the Impact of a Collision?

The severity of a crash is directly related to the speed at which the vehicles are traveling. Higher speeds result in more forceful impacts, leading to greater damage and more serious injuries.

Some of the common severe injuries from speeding-related car accidents include:

  • Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI): High-speed collisions can cause significant head trauma, leading to long-term cognitive and physical impairments.
  • Spinal Cord Injuries: The impact from a high-speed crash can damage the spinal cord, potentially resulting in paralysis.
  • Internal Injuries: Speeding accidents can cause internal bleeding and damage to vital organs.
  • Broken Bones: The force of a high-speed crash can result in multiple fractures, requiring extensive medical treatment and rehabilitation.
  • Whiplash: Sudden deceleration can cause neck injuries, leading to chronic pain and limited mobility.
  • Ejection Injuries: Speeding can increase the likelihood of drivers and passengers getting ejected from a car. When this happens, drivers could suffer complex fractures or even lose limbs.
  • Lacerations and Abrasions: Broken glass or collisions with hard surfaces can result in lacerations that put victims at risk for excessive bleeding and infections. Crash victims can also suffer bruising or abrasions, especially if the force of the collision ejects them from their vehicle and they hit the pavement at high speed.

Why Speeding Makes Seat Belts Less Effective at Preventing Injuries

Another reason why speeding increases the risk of serious injuries is that seat belts become less effective. As vehicle speed increases, it becomes harder for seat belts to spread out the force of impact across vehicle occupants’ bodies. This means your body will experience higher G-forces, increasing the risk of serious injuries.

Why is Speeding More Dangerous for Pedestrians?

Pedestrians are the most vulnerable people on or near the road. While speeding puts everyone at risk, pedestrians are the group that is most negatively impacted by speeding drivers.

According to the Global Safety Partnership, most pedestrians who get hit by a car traveling 30 mph suffer fatal injuries.  Once you go beyond 30 mph, the probability of death quickly approaches 100 percent.

What is California’s Basic Speed Law?

California has something called the “Basic Speed Law,” which says drivers must maintain a reasonable or prudent speed, with consideration for:

  • Weather
  • Visibility
  • Traffic volume
  • The width and surface of the road

Drivers are prohibited from driving at a speed that puts other people or properties in danger.

Drivers should be mindful of the speed limit in different areas. For example, the speed limit in residential areas could range from 25 to 35 miles per hour. On the highway, the speed limit can be higher, such as 65 to 75 miles per hour, due to more lanes and commercial trucks on these types of roads. If drivers are in a school zone during school hours, then the speed limit could be reduced to 15 miles per hour to ensure the safety of children crossing the street.

Exceeding the speed limit can result in penalties like:

  • Fines
  • Points on your driver’s license
  • Increased insurance rates
  • Suspended license

How Do I Avoid Speeding in California?

It can be tough to not speed, as many of us have a lot going on in our lives and we are constantly in a hurry to get somewhere, whether it be work, school or a social engagement.

However, there are some practical steps and guidelines you can follow to reduce your likelihood of speeding, such as:

Plan, So You Are Not in a Rush

Try to give yourself more than enough time to get where you are going. When drivers are in a rush, they are much more likely to speed or violate other traffic laws.

You should also plan your route ahead of time. This should help prevent you from getting lost and running out of time.

Do Not Engage in Distracted Driving

Some drivers speed without realizing it because they are distracted. Put the phone down and avoid eating or personal grooming. If you absolutely need to make a phone call, have a passenger do so, or wait until you reach your destination.

Keep an Eye on Your Speed

You do not need to check your speed every few seconds but take a glance every minute or two. Sometimes drivers speed without even realizing they are doing it. Keeping an eye on the speedometer can help you avoid this.

Do Not Let Passengers Influence Your Driving

You are in control of the car. Do not allow others in the vehicle to encourage you to violate traffic laws.

Take Note of the Posted Limit Where You Are Driving

This is particularly important in unfamiliar areas. However, you should also review speed limits in areas where you often travel, as you may be exceeding these limits without realizing it.

Utilize Cruise Control

Most vehicles have cruise control, which allows you to set a speed. This is particularly useful on long drives, as it can help you travel at a consistent speed.

By following these tips, you can help ensure your driving is safe and within legal speed limits.

Call Arnold Law Firm After a Speed-Related Car Crash

At Arnold Law Firm, we are committed to helping our clients get the compensation they need to recover after a collision caused by another driver. We have decades of experience recovering compensation after many types of motor vehicle collisions.

Call us to discuss your injuries and your path forward. The initial legal consultation is free of charge and there is no obligation to take legal action. Having an experienced attorney manage your case can help you focus on healing.

Experienced Lawyers. Proven Results. (916) 777-7777