Is Speeding Just a Waste of Time?
Although it’s a current issue affecting road safety, speeding’s far from a modern one. In the 1930s, the then Lord Chancellor – Lord Buckmaster – said that the speed limit (20mph), “was so universally disobeyed that its maintenance brought the law into contempt.”
The fact that UK motorists accumulated a whopping 2.3 million fines1 in 2016 goes to show that, while a lot’s changed since in terms of motoring, one thing certainly hasn’t – our attitude towards speeding.
Many recognise the dangers associated with driving at high speeds, yet one in five think it’s acceptable to drive 10mph over the speed limit.2
Why people speed varies from person to person. Some speed out of habit, others because they enjoy it, the majority because they’re late. One reason, however, is shared – people do it to reach a destination sooner.
But does speeding actually make much of a difference to journey times?
How much time does speeding actually save, and at what cost?
You may be surprised by how little time speeding actually cuts off journey times, as well as by how much the little time saved could cost you!
A study carried out by Stockholm University found that people tend to misjudge time saved by speeding.3 One scenario from the experiment involved participants going on two drives, first travelling at an average of 62mph, then at 67mph. When asked to estimate how much time they’d saved by driving 5mph faster, their answer was almost three times greater than the actual time saved.
Whether it’s driving the kids to school or getting to work, on average, we commute around 14 miles4 a day by car. So, to find out how much time speeding really saves, we looked into how long it would take to cover this distance at various speed limits, and then compared this to the time it would take to complete the same journey travelling 10mph faster.
Aside from the enormous risk speeding poses to the safety of all road users, the considerable number of fines dished out each year also highlight that exceeding speed limits can have hefty financial repercussions. So, we decided to also explore exactly how much each minute saved by speeding would cost financially if it were to result in the minimum £100 fine5, and how many hours work this would equate to at various annual salaries.6
After all, don’t they say that time is money?
Using the 30mph scenario as an example, for 7 minutes of your time to be worth £100, you’d have to be earning a colossal annual salary of £1,782,144!
The savings shrink even further when you factor in delays…
If you think these already seem minimal, you’re in for a shock, because they’re only going to get lower. Once you factor in everyday delays – such as traffic jams and red lights – the savings made by travelling 10mph over the speed limit really are trivial.
Ever felt like you spend days-on-end sitting in traffic? Well it turns out that we do! In fact, recent research revealed that the average driver spends 32 hours a year stuck in traffic jams7 – or just over 5 minutes a day.
Add time spent waiting at traffic lights to the equation, which findings suggest is around a fifth8 of our total journey time, and you’ll see that these two factors in themselves significantly reduce savings made by speeding.
Taking the 30mph scenario from the table above as an example - during the hypothetical 21 minute journey, on average, just over four minutes would be spent waiting at red lights and just over five stuck in traffic – cancelling out the time saved by speeding. You would unquestionably experience these delays even if you do stick to the speed limit, but the time you gain speeding in certain stretches would be lost at red lights and in traffic regardless.
Congestion, traffic light placement, and other factors that affect our commute of course vary greatly depending on location; the figures above do go to show however, that on average, speeding really doesn’t cut journey times all that much.
How to get to your destination faster without having to put the pedal to the metal?
As we’ve demonstrated, increasing speed doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll reach your destination any faster. Nevertheless, there are ways in which you can cut your journey time.
Allow yourself plenty of time
As obvious as this may sound, if you find that you’re late more often than not, it may be time to start leaving earlier. Allowing yourself plenty of time to get to where you need to go in good time will help you avoid the temptation, and need, to drive faster.
Check your route before you travel
Thanks to the internet, it’s now easier than ever to check traffic news before you set off. Taking a minute to look up any accidents, roadworks or traffic along your route could save you a considerable amount of time.
Invest in a sat nav with live traffic updates
Better yet, there are a number of sat-nav systems on the market that give you extremely accurate traffic information in real-time. These can help you find an alternative route if an accident has happened ahead or traffic has built up in certain stretches.
All things considered, speeding really doesn’t seem worth it, does it? It doesn’t get you there significantly faster, it endangers you and others, and if you’re caught, you could be slapped with a £100 fine at the very least.
Reaching your destination faster boils down to driving smarter, not faster!
Download our Aviva Drive app and find out how smarter, safer drivers can save money.
Based on a person working 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year