Beyond The Crash: 8 OTHER Reasons Not To Speed

Beyond The Crash: 8 OTHER Reasons Not To Speed

In an attempt to prevent speeding, most organisations tend to focus on the most visibly shocking outcome: a crash. While extremely devastating, the damage spreads far wider than this. What’s often overlooked, may actually be what’s harming us the most.

Here are the 8 dark truths beyond the accident that are making life harder for us all:

1. Speeding will cost you, one way or another

Besides potentially costing your life, car or sanity, speeding will always find a way to leave you out of pocket. Driving fast burns more fuel and more fuel means more money. Each mph you speed is more costly than the one before, so in terms of an hourly wage, speeding can be very expensive.1 Plus, the worst speeders are now fined 150% of their weekly salary,2 so when you throw that into the mix, it doesn’t quite seem worth it.

How can you save money?

Well, according to the Department For Transport, slow and steady saves the pounds as driving at 50mph instead of 70mph can improve fuel economy by 25%.3

Fuel Benefits of Driving Slower

2. Time saved speeding isn’t significant

Research shows that people tend to overestimate time saved by speeding.4 So, you may be surprised by how little time speeding actually cuts off a journey. Our recent research reveals that if you’re driving at 60mph in a 50mph zone on the average (14 mile) commute, you’d save just 2:48 minutes in time. If you receive the minimum speeding fine (£100) for this journey, you’d be paying £35.71 per minute saved.

How much is your time worth?

Can you justify £35.71 a minute, or £2,142.60 an hour? When you factor in roundabouts, lights and traffic, your time saved goes down, and the cost of speeding increases. Speeding simply doesn’t save enough time to be worth it – but it all starts with changing your outlook before you can break the habit.

3. Driving fast makes your car deteriorate fast

Oh the irony! Speeding speeds up the ageing of your car. Ever wondered why vehicles seem to break down on the motorway more than anywhere else? Because extreme speed = extreme wear and tear. Although it’s difficult to measure the exact level of damage caused by speed, even the experts recognise that “with an enormous pool of real-world data, one could come up with a factor for this, but it would simply serve to make the cost of going faster even higher.”5

How can you protect your vehicle?

Turn off your engine in stationary traffic jams and don’t roar off at high speed after starting the engine because this will damage it. Drive smoothly and avoid harsh braking and cornering at speed, as this can take a toll on your tyres.

4. Speeding is a major contributor to climate change

According to the European Environmental Agency, road transport is by far the largest contributor to CO2 emissions.6 When vehicles travel at higher speeds, they demand very high engine loads, which requires more fuel and leads to high CO2 emission rates.7 So, speeding and global warming are directly connected.

Global warming is increasing the rate of natural disasters, melting glaciers, rising temperatures and sea levels, all of which are contributing towards the extinction of rare species, displacement of people and a refugee crisis. As Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment, pointed out recently, “we still find ourselves in a situation where we are not doing nearly enough to save hundreds of millions of people from a miserable future."8

Effect of Road Pollution to Environment

How can you make a difference?

The magnitude of this problem is overwhelming, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t make a difference on a personal level. The simplest way to slow down climate change is to slow down your speed. According to the Department for Transport, the CO2 emissions of a car are directly proportional to the quantity of fuel consumed by an engine.9 A car speeding at 80mph uses 10% more fuel than one cruising at 70mph.10 If everyone made a small change to their speed, together we could make a big change to the planet.

Speeding Effecting Cost of Fuel

5. Air pollution is a bigger killer than accidents

The impact of speeding-induced pollutants may be a lot closer to home than you realise. According to an MIT study of UK air quality, road pollution is more than twice as deadly to humans as traffic accidents.11 Air pollution in the UK was declared a “public health emergency” in 2016 and continues to breach the toxicity limit, causing 40,000-50,000 early deaths a year.12

And it’s not just the air that’s killing us. Research shows that noise pollution affects a huge number of people and is a significant risk to public health. Road traffic and aircraft noise increase the risk of high blood pressure, stroke and heart attack, especially to those exposed at night.13

Effect of Road Pollution

How can we reduce our pollution emissions?

The best thing you can do is walk, cycle, car share or take public transport. Looking to buy a new car? Consider going hybrid or electric. If this isn’t an option, there are simple ways to make your driving cleaner. Avoid rapid acceleration and try to slow down gently by easing off the accelerator before braking, as this reduces both fuel emissions and toxic brake particles.14

6. Wildlife suffers and so does your car

A third of animals are vanishing as roads spread through forests.15 Speeding destroys wildlife and it destroys your car. The number of animals killed on the roads in the United States is estimated at a million per day. Numbers in the UK are not tracked, however 350,000 to 27 million birds are estimated to be killed on European roads each year.16 The UK National Deer-Vehicle Collisions Project estimates that over 74,000 deer are involved in vehicle collisions each year in Britain, and the cost of damage to vehicles alone is at least £17 million.17

Deer Collison In UK

How can we protect our Great British wildlife?

It’s pretty simple. The faster you drive, the longer it takes to stop. As your speed increases, so do your chances of hitting an animal. But what if something does run out in front of you? If it’s small like a rabbit or squirrel you shouldn’t swerve, but if it’s larger like a deer or horse then avoid the animal at all costs, as it could cause serious damage to you and your car.

7. Speeding is a self-destructive way of life

In an increasingly fast paced world, we live under a weight of high stress demands, so it’s no wonder we’re always in a rush. But this exhausting speed is detrimental to our mental health and the people around us. Speeding creates stress, road rage and anger, which can very easily become a habit or, even worse, an addiction.

How can you break the speeding cycle?

According to Dr. Chris Tennant of the London School of Economics and Political Science: “Drivers themselves create the very environment they often find stressful and to which they can respond combatively: more considerate driving would generate more considerate driving.”18

Allow more time for your journey by leaving earlier so you don’t have to rush. You’d be surprised how much you can enjoy your commute to work when you take the time to be mindful on the roads and engage with your surroundings. Try to observe and learn from everything you see on the roads – driving can become a therapeutic, relaxing and even enjoyable part of your day.

8. Slowing down could save society

Our recklessness on the road impacts the mentality of others. Even a minor action can have a profound psychosocial effect on those around you, especially when it triggers fear, anxiety or anger. It sets the tone for the society we are a part of, as leading road safety charity Brake recognises: “Speed is scary and noisy. It stops communities being enjoyable places for children and families to walk, talk and play.”19

Dr. Chris Tennant calls this the “ripple effect”. In a survey of nearly 9000 people, 87% agreed that when one driver helped them, they were more likely to help another later on their journey. Whilst less frequent, the converse can also be true: when one driver impedes you, you are more likely to be less helpful to, or possibly even to impede another. As a result, the very behaviours which we find provocative in others are the same behaviours we often engage in as a consequence.

Ripple Effect of Driving

How can we make society safer?

We cannot control what happens to us, but we can control how we react. We often take it personally when someone “offends” us on the roads, yet when we respond negatively, we are indirectly creating the very environment that is instigating our suffering. In the same way, if we are considerate on the roads, we can generate a ripple effect of mutually kinder and safer journeys.

Speed Down Save Lives

Let’s all do our bit to Speed Down. Let’s remove the fear and uncertainty that’s driving unhealthy, unsafe and chaotic roads. We’re all responsible for the damage that’s being caused by our speed. It’s polluting our environment, our bodies and our minds. If we want to make the roads a better place, we must first look to make ourselves safer drivers.

Additional Sources


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