The need for speed

Speed. It seems to be something we all crave. We ride roller coasters that hurl us down twisting and winding tracks so fast the wind whips us in the face, our adrenaline kicks in (unsure if our bodies are about to experience a traumatic injury) and when the ride is over we beg for more. Granted, most of those rides strap us in with heavy-duty safety harnesses (especially if they spin upside down) and there is no other oncoming traffic that could put us in danger of collision. However, park safety issues aside, the point is the same-it seems to be human nature to take such thrilling risks, even on the roadways.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, speed costs our nation $44,193.00 per minute, which equates to over $23 billion per year. Why? Because speeding is a major contributing factor in the cause of and severity of crashes. Nearly 1/3 of all crash fatalities are attributed to speed.

Consequences of severe or life-threatening injuries increase for every 10 miles per hour over 50 and the effectiveness of seatbelts, airbags and vehicle frame (e.g. the car's crumple zones) decrease as speed goes up. The hours between 6:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. are when speed-related fatalities occur the most and often involve just a single vehicle 60 percent of the time.

Not all speeders are filled with malicious intent. In fact, most speeders are average people; however, most do not see the harm or potential risk involved with speeding other than catching the State Trooper's flashing lights in their rearview.

Drivers can be classified into four different subtypes when it comes to how and why they speed. Which type are you?

1. Incidental: Drivers in this classification can also be considered, on average, non-speeders because they speed very little. When and if they do, it's on fewer trips and only during a small part of those trips.

2. Situational: Those who fall into this category are drivers who speed more often but on smaller numbers of outings. Think of the parent who got out of work late who rushes to pick up children from school or daycare. While they don't speed all the time, when they do their speed is more excessive.

3. Regular/casual: These drivers speed a little over the limit more frequently. That is, they are more likely to speed on a larger number of trips but at a lesser rate over the limit.

4. Habitual: Habitual speeders are drivers who will go over the limit most of the time. However, it's unclear if they are more likely to speed at greater excess over the limit than the others.

Additionally, there are three types of driving: reckless driving, road rage and dangerous driving. Reckless drivers were more likely to race, tailgate or drive under the influence. Those who express extreme frustration over another's perceived inability to drive experience road rage, while dangerous driving is when a person accelerates through a yellow light, is more like to take a risk when in a hurry and prone to cut off other drivers.

Not knowing what to do after experiencing an auto accident can add significantly more stress. If you have injuries, take care of yourself first, then contact an attorney who practices personal injury, regardless of whether you were speeding or the other person was, to get the answers you deserve.

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