Is Driving Faster Safer?

We have speed limits on every road here in America, this is a really important rule to keep people safe, but is it safe to keep these limits low? Of course logically you would say yes, speed kills doesn’t it? This is not necessarily true.

Slow Drivers


According to state and federal studies, drivers that are driving significantly below the average speed are the ones that are most likely to get involved in an accident. Studies show that the most accidents occur when the driver is driving at 10 mph slower than the speed limit. So someone going 45 in a 55 has a bigger chance of getting into an accident than someone driving at 65-70 mph.[1]

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What would happen if the speed limits were raised?


Regardless of the speed limit, most drivers only go as fast as they seem safe for them. There was an 18-month study along the New York Thruway when the speed limit was increased from 55 to 65. The average speed limit of the road remained the same at 68 regardless of the change. A national study that was conducted by the Federal Highway Administration said that there was no change in the speed of the drivers regardless of lowering or increasing the speed limit. The average speed of the drivers remained the same.[2]

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Do higher speeds cause more accidents?


The main problem on roads that causes accidents is the differences in speed, rather than speed itself. While some people are going faster than other, some go slower which causes the traffic to flow unevenly. If the speeds limits are raised to comply with the actual travel speeds, the roads become safer, because the traffic now flows more evenly and people start going to the same speeds. This actually shows that drivers are not affected by the speed limits that much, but rather slow drivers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Says that only 30% of the accidents that are fatal are accidents in which the driver was speeding. This does not mean that the speeding actually is the cause of the accident. A study conducted by the Florida Department of Transportation says that accidents that were caused by speeding is actually 2.2%. This shows that if people drive faster all together it is actually safer than driving slow.[3]

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When the speed limits are lower on roads where people feel safe going faster, people don’t follow the speed limits, and also don’t care for traffic signals as seriously. So the speeds limits should be raised to make the drivers feel comfortable and safe, and also make them feel satisfied that they are not breaking the laws.

Congress ruled that states were free to create their own speed limits. 31 states immediately raised their speed limits to more than 70 mph. 29 of these states had an immediate rate of decline for deaths and injuries related to car accidents.[5]

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In conclusion, I believe that driving faster is actually safer. Drivers usually drive to the speed that they feel safe in, regardless of the speed limit, so I think that states should raise speed limits to reasonable speeds, in consideration that only 2.2% of all fatal accidents are because of speed.

3 thoughts on “Is Driving Faster Safer?

  1. John Luken

    I agree completely after reading your post. Personally, I like to drive fast so that I can arrive at my destination quicker. Knowing that I am driving faster, I feel as if I am also more attentive to what is going on around me while I drive. My brother and I got into a little accident because of someone that was driving too slow in front of us, and the person behind us didn’t realize it and hit the back of our car. People often have a misconception that driving fast is the cause of most accidents. Great post!

  2. Jensen T Sneeringer

    This is definitely an interesting theory! When I first saw the concept, I was skeptical. After reading through your blog and reviewing the statistics, I actually agree with you regarding the idea that it is all about what is most comfortable for the drivers. However, I think that no matter what, there will be some punks that will go really fast and be a danger regardless, just as there will be the grandmas that are 20 under and creating road rage and an unsafe driving environment. So while I’m not sure all speed limits should necessarily be raised, I don’t exactly know of a much better alternative either.

  3. Connor Ethan Ogden

    This actually makes a lot of sense if you think about it. A driver that is driving slow may think that they do not need to pay much attention to the road and may even become bored or distracted because they are doing something so monotonous. On the other hand, a driver that is driving very fast is feeling a thrill and therefore focuses their complete attention on the road. I know whenever I start cruise controlling on the freeway, I tend to doze off and get distracted by scenery but when I am speeding I am feeling a thrill and the road is all I pay attention to. A couple months ago I remember reading about a certain case either in New Zealand or Australia (whats the difference…just kidding Andrew) in which the speed limit was raised greatly on the freeway and accidents fell significantly. Unfortunately I cannot find the article.

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