Why do most young drivers speed?
• Drivers of all ages speed and the young drivers see this driving behaviour as the ‘norm’.
• Driving is more difficult that it looks, with many different tasks needing to be done at the same time. With all that is required to drive a car such as braking, steering, changing gears, looking out for hazards and applying the road rules, young drivers often do not notice the speed at which they are travelling. There are too many other things to worry about.
• Most young people have an exaggerated opinion of their driving ability. Once they can manoeuvre a car they think they can drive well. This overconfidence in their ability leads them to believe they can control any situations that may arise.
• Modern cars are built a bit like a comfy / lounge – good seats, a great sound system, air-conditioning, not much external noise. This quiet, comfortable ride insulates the driver from the clues that indicate that the car is going too fast – things like vibration and wind noise.
• Most journeys are made safely and free of problems – so there are rewards for speeding. The driver gets to their destination quicker and enjoys the drive along the way. Because they usually beat the odds of being in a crash or being caught tor speeding, they fail to recognise the real risk of this happening.
So the bottom line is – most young drivers speed because they underestimate the risks they are exposing themselves to. Even when they know that the odds of crashing increase when they speed, they still believe they can beat the odds.
Of course, many older people think exactly the same way.
Did you know? In a 60 km/h zone, travelling at:
• 65 km/h, you are twice as likely to have a serious crash
• 70 km/h, you are four times as likely to have a serious crash
• 75 km/h, you are 10 times as likely to have a serious crash
• 80 km/h, you are 32 times as likely to have a serious crash than if you drive at 60 km/h.
In rural out of town areas, travelling just 10 km/h faster than the average speed of other traffic you are twice as likely to have a serious crash.
Four reasons why your choice of speed is important.
1. You have less time to react to an emergency.
Imagine you are travelling at 70 km/h instead of 60 km/h, a pedestrian or another vehicle suddenly appears. Even before you have started to brake, at 70 km/h you will have travelled almost 3 metres more than the driver travelling at 60 km/h.
This decision making time, or reaction time, is the time it takes to recognise an emergency and then to brake.
Young drivers take longer than experienced drivers to even notice an emergency or a hazard, so travelling at a slower speed will help. A few kilometres per hour can make a big difference in seeing and reacting to an emergency.
2. It takes a longer time to come to a complete stop. A car travelling at 70 km/h will take around 57 metres to come to a complete stop after the driver first notices an emergency. The same car travelling at 60 km/h will take about 47 metres to stop. 10 metres is a lot of extra distance to travel in an emergency. Step it out sometime and see for yourself!
3. The faster you travel the harder you hit!
Think about this, Dropping a car from a three storey building is equivalent to crashing at 50 km/h. From a 12 storey building, it is about the same as crashing at 100 km/h. You would be much more likely to survive the 50 km/h crash than the 100 km/h crash.
4. You are more likely to have a serious crash.
Putting all this together, an extra 5 km/h travel speed can make the difference between a near miss and a bad crash. Just an extra 5 km/h can double your chances of having a casualty crash in a 60 km/h zone.
Speeding, What a sensation!
It may seem like fun but it is downright dangerous! The effects of speeding and being involved in a car crash can change your life forever.
The road is dry, you have a modern vehicle with good brakes and tyres, a child runs onto the road 45 metres ahead of you while you are travelling in a 60 km/h zone. You brake hard. Will you stop in time? If you were driving just 5 km/h over the speed limit, you won’t have time to stop and you will hit the child at over 30 km/h.
The road is wet; you have a modern vehicle with good brakes and tyres, a child runs onto the road 45 metres ahead of you while you are travelling in a 60 km/h zone, you brake hard- will you stop in time?
If a child steps onto the road 45 metres ahead, you will have to be driving under the speed limit to stop in time.
The faster you go the less time you have to see hazards, assess the risk and respond. Even though you may be a capable driver, extra speed always means it takes longer for the vehicle to stop. In wet conditions you should allow much more distance to stop than on a dry road.
The more distance you keep from other vehicles on the road, the better your chances are of avoiding a crash. All drivers make mistakes at times. If you stay 2-3 seconds behind the vehicle in front, you will have time to react to unexpected situations. You will also be a lot more visible to oncoming drivers and better positioned to see any vehicles ahead of the one in front of you.
Do you feel the pressure to go fast?
Don’t worry if others expect you to go fast, you are in control of the car and ultimately you are the one to face the consequences of speeding.
Can you afford the costs of speeding (points and licence loss, $$s and injury)?
Even if you don’t crash or get fined, higher speeds and hard acceleration will cost you extra money every time you fill your petrol tank. Next time you see a person speeding in and out of traffic, check out where they are at the next change of lights or intersection, chances are they are beside you. Speeding can really only save you a few seconds or minutes in a total journey – so it’s not worth the risk.
Annoyed that someone has pushed into the gap that you have left between you and the next car?
Just make another gap. It’s cheaper and less hassle than crashing into their car.
Speeding in an urban area is as dangerous as driving with an illegal blood alcohol concentration.
In a 60 km/h zone, even travelling at 5 km/h above the limit increases your chances of having a serious crash as much as driving with a blood alcohol concentration of 0,05.
Speeding – It’s not worth the risk!