One of the leading causes of crashes, and yet also one of the most avoidable habits, is speeding. Most people are guilty of speeding at some point in their lives, but as an Australian website points out, it only takes an uptick of a couple miles per hour (or kilometers, in their case) to drastically increase the chance that you’ll succumb to an accident.
The detriment to your reaction time and the increased stopping distance created when you go over the speed limit are what most greatly influence your chances of being in a wreck. Three miles per hour is all it takes to double the risk of being in some sort of collision, but it’s important to note that the inverse is true as well. It’s estimated that cities where all drivers reduce their rates of speed by 3 mph would see crash rates plunge by 25%, while that reduction would increase further in rural areas, where 30% of fatal crashes would potentially be eliminated.
The rate of speed with which you should travel also depends on a number of other factors, not the least of which is weather conditions. The quality of the road’s surface, the width of your lane, and the prevalence of other vehicles sharing the road are all things that must be taken into account when determining speed. You should also slow down when people on bicycles and pedestrians are near.
Finally, understand that speed limit signs are not just a suggestion, nor are they arbitrary. Time and effort goes into determining the safest and most effective maximum travel speed, so respect what the signs are trying to tell you. It’s called a limit, not a minimum.