On U.S. roadways in 2014, speeding was a factor in 9,262 deaths, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). This included exceeding posted speed limits, driving too fast in dangerous conditions, and racing. Any of these driving behaviors can cause serious injury and death, so it’s important to understand why speeding creates so much risk and what you can do to recover adequate compensation if you’ve been injured.
A Speed Limit Is More Than Just a Sign
In Rhode Island, exceeding posted speed limits is not the only way to earn a speeding ticket or cause an accident. Driving at a speed that is unsafe for conditions—such as during a snow storm or in heavy traffic—can also end in devastation.
However, under the “prima facie” or presumed speed limit statute, Rhode Island law can allow for traveling over posted limits—if a driver can show that he did so in safe, appropriate conditions while minimizing risks.
Speeding Alters the Impact of an Accident
Some drivers risk speeding, but doing so puts others on the roadway at risk of permanent disability, disfigurement, serious injury, and death because:
Speeding drivers react more slowly.
Traveling at a safe speed gives a driver more time to react to obstructions or threats on the road. Speeding decreases that time allowance, making it more difficult for a driver to react quickly.
Speeding makes a vehicle more difficult to handle.
At such high speeds, steering can be much more difficult. Taking fast turns can be dangerous, but even a small bump or slight turn of the wheel on a straight highway can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle.
Speeding weaponizes a vehicle.
The faster a vehicle travels, the more momentum it builds. Therefore, a speeding vehicle has the potential energy to hit another object or car with more force than one traveling at safe speeds. In an accident, the speed at which a vehicle hits another vehicle may be the difference between life and death.