Connecticut Personal
Injury Attorneys
New Haven, Connecticut | Weber & Rubano Law Firm

The Dangers of Speeding

Exceeding the speed limit is one of the most dangerous and easily preventable causes of car accidents and also increases the severity of car accident injuries. In what’s sometimes called “The Deadly Equation,” crash force impact increases substantially for every ten miles per hour a car travels. For instance, a 120-pound person becomes a 4,200-pound force in an accident at 35 miles per hour, and a 6,600-pound force at 55 miles per hour.

Besides increased crash force impact in accidents, exceeding the speed limit presents additional dangers to drivers and others sharing the roadway.

Increased Chances of Loss of Control

As a car increases speed, it becomes more difficult to control due to a variety of contributing factors. Wind resistance and centrifugal force make a vehicle less aerodynamically stable at higher speeds. Tires also have less grip on the road surface when turning at higher speeds so the tires may not keep up with the car’s momentum. Even slight reductions in speed increase the control and maneuverability of a car and lessen the severity of an accident. According to the Australian Academy of Science, increasing speed by as little as 5 km over the speed limit doubles the chance of an accident.

Increased Stopping Distance

The braking distance, or distance required to bring a vehicle to a full stop after pressing the brakes, increases exponentially with every five miles per hour of speed. When a driver doubles the speed of the car, it increases the vehicle’s stopping distance by four times. The faster a person drives, the longer the total time it takes for their car to stop. The calculation includes “thinking time” or the number of tire revolutions and distance traveled while the driver’s brain decides to stop the vehicle and their foot takes action on the pedal, plus the total distance traveled while the brakes bring the car to a full stop. At 40 miles per hour, the thinking distance is 40 feet, and the braking distance is 80 feet for a total of 120 feet of stopping time. At 60 miles per hour, the thinking distance is 60 feet and the braking distance is 180 feet for a total of 240 feet required for a car to come to a stop.

Reduced Protection Equipment Effectiveness

Studies show that higher speeds decrease the effectiveness of vehicle restraint systems, including seatbelts and airbags. Airbags are at their most effective at speeds of 25 miles per hour or less. Their effectiveness decreases for every ten miles per hour of speed over 25 miles per hour. Seatbelts also become less effective at preventing injuries at higher speeds. Although the seatbelt continues to protect the vehicle occupant from ejection from the vehicle, the increased crash force causes more trauma to the body as it’s propelled against the seatbelt and then snapped back against the seat cushion.

In a collision, the motorist’s body continues traveling forward at the speed the vehicle was traveling until it’s stopped by the seatbelt. Seatbelt failure is more common in crashes at high speeds.

Speeding Has Environmental Impacts


Speeding also has negative impacts on the environment, including increased carbon emissions, increased fuel consumption, and increased wear and tear on community roadways. Speeding also increases noise pollution with impacts on urban communities in cities and wildlife in rural regions.

Did a Speeding Driver Cause an Accident? An Accident Attorney Can Help

Speeding not only increases the chances of a car accident and adds to the likelihood of serious injuries, but it also leaves the speeding driver liable for damages in an accident or contributes to the fault in a car accident, lowering the amount of compensation available to an accident victim. After an accident caused by a speeding driver, a New Haven car accident attorney can help increase the chances of a favorable outcome in your case.