With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season coming to a close, we’re all probably feeling a bit rushed and frazzled right about now. But it’s important to remember to take a minute to slow down, both for our own well-being and that of others. And under no circumstances is it more important to be mindful of the “slow down” reminder than when we are out on the roads this season. Because research and data show that when you’re behind the wheel, even a few miles per hour difference in speed can be the difference between life and death for others.
While it is common sense that faster cars are deadlier, studies in this area are remarkable for just how much deadlier faster speeds can be for older folks. For example, a 70-year-old hit by a car going 35 mph is about as likely to be killed as a 30-year-old hit by a car going 45 mph (in both cases it’s about a 50/50 chance).
The data shows that at 40 mph, a 30-year-old has a 36 percent chance of dying. However, a 70-year-old’s chance is almost double that at the same speed, at 70 percent. Of course, these percentages are estimates based on a sample of data. But what is clear is that age makes a huge difference when it comes to vehicle speed.
Another overarching trend shown by the data is that once cars reach a speed just above 20 mph, they rapidly become deadlier. For instance, a person is about 70 percent more likely to be killed if they’re struck by a vehicle traveling at 30 mph versus 25 mph.Other studies have shown similar trends in how much speed matters. In 2010 London’s Department for Transport concluded that “the risk of fatality increases slowly until impact speeds of around 30 mph. Above this speed, risk increases rapidly — the increase is between 3.5 and 5.5 times from 30 mph to 40 mph.”
So, while speed limit adjustments as a traffic-slowing method can often be a nuisance, for those who get hit, it could actually make a huge difference in how likely they are to survive.
The interactive chart at this link makes it easier to see the difference a few miles per hour can make. So please take a moment this busy holiday season to breathe, relax and make sure you’re travelling within all speed limits when out on the road. If you have been the unfortunate victim of having been hit by a vehicle, you should contact an experienced attorney right away to explore your options.
Image courtesy of Unsplash.