Perhaps not every motorists speeds, but few motorists have ever not exceeded the speed limit at some point. Take a drive on the freeway at almost any time of day and you will inevitably encounter speeders traveling from just a few miles over the posted limit to near race track speeds.
But does speeding really save you time? You always want to arrive on time for a move or restaurant reservation but it appears that you save little time when speeding, especially when traveling short distances.
Is it Worth the Risk?
The first thing to ask is whether speeding is worth the risk of being stopped by a peace officer and cited for speeding. In most locations, peace officers will rarely ticket motorists on a freeway so long as their speed does not exceed 10 miles over the speed limit. Of course, if you are in an urban or residential area, traveling 35 in a 25 mph zone will more likely attract the attention of a local officer.
You also have to consider the financial costs of a speeding ticket.For instance, traffic fines for speeding in California are:
Speeds in excess of 25 mph over the limit will expose you to reckless driving charges. Speeding also results in a point on your driving record and an increase in your auto insurance rates that can cost you hundreds of dollars extra per year. Even if you decide to take a traffic school course, you have to pay the ticket and the cost of the course.
- 1 to 15 mph over the limit: $214
- 16 to 25 mph over the limit: $328
There is the also the increased risk of being involved in a traffic accident. There were over 40,000 fatal traffic accidents in 2016, an increase over past years, with many attributed to distracted driving, intoxication and speeding, or a combination of all of these. Speeding alone, however, is responsible for 30% or more of fatal accidents.
Speeding decreases your perception/reaction time or the time it takes to recognize a hazard and to react to it. Obviously, the faster you are traveling, the less time you have to avoid a hazard. Many observers encourage drivers to use the 3-second rule. You pick out a pole or sign and observe a car in front of you pass it, then see if you then pass the object 3 seconds later. This will give you enough time to avoid a rear-end collision if the vehicle in front of you has to suddenly stop or take evasive action.
Does Speeding Save You Time?
A simple study of distance and the rates of speed indicate that you save minimal amounts of time for most trips, although you can save more time the farther you travel.
For example, if your trip is 15 miles and the speed limit is 35 mph, it will take you 25.71 minutes. If you go 45 mph, you will save 5 minutes. If the distance is 50 miles with a speed limit of 65 mph and you are traveling 75 mph, you will save only 6.15 minutes.
For a 500 mile trip, however, where the limit is 65 mph and your average speed is 75, you will save 61.54 minutes. However, if you travel at 85 mph where the limit is 75, you save only 47.06 minutes. The reason for this is the proportional increase. Although you are traveling much faster at 75 over a 65 mph limit than 45 mph over 35 mph, it is only a 15% increase.
Traffic Congestion Will Slow You Down
Depending on where you are driving and when, you will encounter traffic congestion that will slow your time of arrival, regardless of how fast you are going. For shorter distances, you will likely have to stop at multiple traffic lights that will also reduce the time savings.
Avoid Excessive Speeds
The revelation here is that speeding will not have a significant impact on your arrival time, unless you are traveling very long distances and can maintain a speed that at least will not likely attract the attention of traffic officers.
While it may be relatively safe to go slightly above the speed limit, especially if other traffic is doing so, going more than 10 mph over the limit is just too risky and will not appreciably reduce your travel time for most trips.
If you must arrive at or within a certain time, plan ahead. If you are traveling during the week, avoid rush hour times in the mornings and afternoons. If on a holiday, leave early. It also helps to plan your route and to consider alternate routes where traffic will be less congested.
In the long run, however, speeding will not get you to most destinations with any significant savings in time. It matters little in most cases if you arrive 15 or even 30 minutes later than you planned. Even for longer distances, a savings of an hour or 2 is irrelevant. By going the speed limit, you save on gasoline, reduce the chances of being cited for speeding and of being in a traffic collision.
This summer, take our Impaired-Free Driving Pledge: “I pledge to drive at or under the speed limit. There is no need to rush, I will still get to my destination. I will relax and enjoy my drive.”