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The Psychology Behind People That Overspeed

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Speed is at the core of the road safety problem. In fact, speed is involved in all accidents: no speed, no accidents. In around 30% of the fatal accidents speed is an essential contributory factor. Firstly, speed affects the risk of being involved in an accident.


At a higher speed, it is more difficult to react in time and pr event an accident. Secondly, speed affects the injury consequences of an accident. At a higher (impact) speed, more energy is released when colliding with another vehicle, road user or obstacle. Part of this energy will need to be absorbed by the vulnerable human body. Very strong relationships have been established between speed and accident risk and severity.


Recent research done for the British Automotive Association found that Speeding is endemic. It is not something just done by a small minority o f irresponsible drivers. While there are those who speed "extravagantly to seek thrills", most people do so within what they may claim are accepted social norms.


Research data showed that drivers aged 17-24 drive the fastest, and then 25 to 58 years old followed by 58 years plus with Males driving faster than Females.The groups most likely to speed excessively are those driving in a work-related capacity, members of high income households and young males. Motorcyclists are also a serious problem.


Possible reasons for Drivers breaking the Speed Limit include:

-Their late -Because their journey is more important than yours

-They are contemptuous of safe drivers

-There in a bad mood

-Chances of getting caught are low

-They think they have a right too

-They have little or no regard for life and property

-By nature they are impatient

-They are selfish and full of self-importance

-They can’t help it -They like driving fast

-They are arrogant and self-righteous

-Their car is faster and newer than yours

-They think they can drive as well as Lewis Hamilton

-They do not know what the speed limits are

-He cut me up first -They are in a hurry

-They do not regard speeding as a serious offence

-They feel pressured into keeping up with other drivers

-They did not realize they were speeding

-They just don’t like you being in front of them


While some of the above may well be true, one thing is for sure, a person with these character traits is going to kill or injure an innocent road user. Time and time again perfectly normal rational people mutate into driving demons once behind the wheel of a car. Speeders come in all shapes and sizes, from the young to the old and across all racial, social and economic boundaries.


British Government research has shown that excessive speed is a contributory factor in over 1,000 deaths and over 40,000 injuries every year in the UK. To avoid being a statistic, drivers need to recognise what it is that triggers their speeding habit so they may alter and restrict this antisocial and dangerous behaviour.


Driving at a higher than reasonable speed increases your risk in two ways: it cuts your reaction time and results in more "stored" energy (that must be dissipated in any collision). You should consider if the risks are worth the gain.


The Inability to stop in time is the biggest cause of death on our roads. One in three deaths could have been avoided if the driver had gone slower in towns and on rural roads. Two out of three crashes where people are killed or injured happen on roads where the speed limit is very low.


To avoid over speeding the following was recommended.


In areas where you are likely to come across pedestrians, cyclists or horse riders, drive in the range of 30 km/h or lower. Remember! The faster you go, the harder you hit. Always check your Speedometer if you are not sure of your speed. Believe lower limits - they are there because of hazards ahead. Ensure you have enough time to slow or stop for the unexpected. Nothing happens "suddenly" to good driver. Keep your distance and go slower when you have spotted a hazard. If you are late ring ahead. So that you can drive well within the limits and you will arrive relaxed and hardly any later than if you had been speeding.


Just because you think that you are a good driver does not mean that you can drive faster. The place to test your reaction times is not on a public road. In the same light just because your car allows you to go faster does not mean that you should drive faster. Having ABS brakes won’t help the child you hit because you were going too fast.


Finally do not allow others to influence you to go faster. Slow down and let them overtake in a safe place. They probably have a very good reason for wanting to exit this planet quickly!

1st Nov 2014

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