Whether a driver is late to work, an inexperienced driver, or simply impatient during the morning commute, speed has always been a problem in Nevada. According to recent statistics, excessive speed contributed to over 30 percent of all traffic-related fatalities in Nevada in one recent year, and a staggering 38 percent in another recent year. Despite repeated warnings, posted speed limits, and increased highway patrols, thousands of drivers continue to drive at unsafe speeds every day. As drivers, it’s important to understand how speed can influence an accident and what you can do to stay safe on the roads.
If you have already been involved in a serious car crash, speaking to an experienced auto incident attorney can help you determine all your available options.
How Speed Affects Accidents
When someone chooses to ignore the posted speed limit, they are selfishly putting the lives of other drivers at risk. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), speeding increases the likelihood of an accident, as well as the severity of injuries sustained as a result of the accident.
A closer look reveals:
- Speeding increases the amount of stopping distance required. Drivers should always be prepared to stop for unexpected hazards. The faster you go, the more time it takes to stop. For a car traveling 20 miles per hour, it takes about 63 feet to stop. That same car traveling 40 miles per hour will take 164 feet to stop. 100 feet can make a big difference if a small child or animal darts out into the street.
- Higher speeds mean greater impact. Increased speed has a direct correlation with the rate of fatalities in auto accidents. WHO reports that an auto accident involving speeds of approximately 50 miles per hour is 20 times more likely to kill a vehicle’s occupants than one where the speed is only 20 miles per hour.
- High speeds reduce a driver’s ability to control the vehicle: Excessive speeds can make it difficult to navigate curves, adapt to changing weather, and maintain traction on hazardous surfaces.
It’s Not Just About the Speed Limit
Many people associate speeding simply with driving over the speed limit. While this accounts for a large percentage of speeding accidents, driving too fast for road conditions is also a serious problem. All drivers have a duty to adjust their speed to account for changing road conditions. Some of these changes include:
- Weather conditions: Changing weather conditions can make it difficult to see or hard for your tires to grab traction on the road. When the road is wet, excessive speed can cause your car to hydroplane or slide above the road’s surface. Rain can also make it difficult to see traffic ahead of you. In Nevada, the bright sun can cause a glare on your windshield, making it hard to see. You should also adjust your speed when there is fog or smog.
- Traffic conditions: Traffic conditions can vary, depending on the time of day, accidents blocking the roadway, or construction work. A safe speed at 7 a.m. in the morning may be substantially different than that at 9 p.m.
- Other road hazards: Hazards including wildlife, uneven pavement, and foreign objects in the roadway are just a few examples of when you may need to reduce your speed.
How Do You Prove the Other Driver Was Speeding?
Accidents involving high levels of speed can have devastating consequences. If you believe that speed was a factor in your accident, the other driver may owe you both punitive and actual damages. Because of this, it is not uncommon for the other driver to deny that he or she was driving above the speed limit. Thankfully, many tools can determine whether the other driver was speeding, including:
- Body damage: An auto mechanic can tell a lot about an accident just by looking underneath the car. Accidents involving high speeds often cause significant damage to the car’s frame. In many cases, one or both of the cars may be declared a total loss in high-speed accidents.
- Skid marks: Unless you came to a sudden and unexpected stop, skid marks are a good sign that the other driver was driving faster than they should have. Even if you did stop, the other driver should have been maintaining an appropriate following distance. If there are skid marks at the scene of your accident, pictures can be a valuable component of your case.
- Witnesses or video: It’s not hard to point out a speeder. If excessive speed led to your accident, there’s a good chance other motorists saw the drivers dangerous behavior. If there are no witnesses, businesses in the area may have caught the accident on camera.
- Radar: There may be a chance that the other driver’s speed was caught by a police officer or a radar device. An experienced personal injury attorney can search to see if there is any evidence of excessive speed leading up to the accident.
Staying Safe on the Roads
Unfortunately, most of us come across speeders every day. Knowing this, you can take steps to reduce the likelihood of an accident. As always, the best way to stay safe on the road is to practice defensive driving. If you see someone who is driving too fast, be prepared to react. If another driver approaches you with excessive speed from behind, move over to allow the driver to pass, if possible. If you are driving on a one-lane road, you may need to pull to the side of the road, if you can safely do so. If the driver is in front of you, increase the distance between you and the other driver, if possible.
Reporting dangerous drivers can help save lives. If you believe that another driver’s speed poses a danger to other drivers, pull over and call the police.
A Car Accident Attorney Can Help You Recover from Your Injuries
Money can’t fix your injuries, but it can help you recover. High speed crashes often lead to serious injuries that affect you for the rest of your life. You deserve full and just compensation for your injuries. If you were injured because another driver was speeding, a car accident lawyer can help you fight for what you deserve.