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The danger of Speeding

Speed limits are designed to make the road that you travel on safe, by making sure that you have enough time to react to unforeseen circumstances and stop safely.

Generally speaking, the faster a vehicle is travelling the less time a driver has to react to a hazard in the road, and the more likely it is that a collision will occur. The higher the speed is on impact, the more force there is in the collision and the more likely it is that any injuries will be very serious or even fatal.

  • At 20 mph a child hit by a vehicle has a 90% chance of survival.
  • At 30 mph a child hit by a vehicle has a 50% chance of survival.
  • At 40 mph a child hit by a vehicle has a 10% chance of survival.

Most collisions occur in 30 mph zones where the car involved is speeding. In fact around two-thirds of all accidents where people are killed or injured happen on roads where the speed limit is 30 mph or less. By driving at just 5 mph over the speed limit, you dramatically increase your chances of being involved in a collision and the results of those collisions can be devastating.  

Many drivers are genuinely totally unaware of the true level of road crashes that occur. Most public surveys find that people think they are “better than average drivers”. Clearly this can’t be the case as the statistics show. In 2006, 31,845 people were killed or seriously injured in road accidents. Around 3,294 of those killed or seriosly injured were children under the age of 15.  

Even if you are a good driver, car crashes often involve two or more vehicles. So slow down to allow for other peoples mistakes. The decisions you make whilst driving could mean the difference between life and death.  

Facts about speeding

  • 7 out of 10 drivers regularly break the speed limit - usually by about 5 mph.
  • An average family car travelling at 35 mph will need an extra 21 feet (6.4 metres) to stop than one travelling at 30 mph.
  • If you hit a cyclist or pedestrian at 35 mph the force of the impact increases by more than a third than at 30 mph.
  • Reducing your speed by an average of 1 mph will cut accident frequency by 5 per cent 
  • On urban roads 76 per cent of cars will exceed the speed limit if the road is clear.  
  • It is not safer to drive faster at night. Casualty rates are double those during daylight hours due to the higher speeds because of less traffic, higher alcohol consumption, tiredness and darkness.  

Children’s awareness of the dangers of traffic is much lower than that of adults’. Many cannot judge how fast cars are moving nor how far away they are. As we all know, children are more easily distracted and they are likely to do things, such as dash into the road after a ball, or step into the road whilst texting on their mobiles etc. As adults who have been trained and licensed to drive cars in an environment that children also use, it is our responsibility to ensure that a child who dashes into the road or who makes a mistake whilst cycling does not pay for that mistake with their life. The most effective way to ensure this, is to simply drive more slowly.  



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