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Do Speed Limits Save Lives?

“Speed kills.”

We hear this moniker everywhere, including from the government, from police, and from our nightly news who report on traffic fatalities, often attributing them to crazy drivers who go flying down highways at insane speeds. While in many cases these accusations are true, new research suggests that the overwhelming majority of speeders on roads are actually driving safer than those who are sticking to a speed limit that is too low.

Autobahn Example

One of the most-quoted examples to support the idea is the German Autobahn system, which in many instances has no speed limits at all whatsoever. However, in spite of this, the Germans have a dramatically lower accident and fatality rate than the United States. While many people attribute this to better cars and drivers training (which couldn’t really hurt anybody, right?), the actual cause can be attributed to better adherence and enforcement to a different law: passing on the left.

Pretty much every state in the country has some form of a law that requires drivers to stick to the right side of a road and only move left when they wish to pass or travel at higher speeds. However, this is rarely enforced, as we frequently see “slowpoke” drivers in the fast lane holding up drivers who wish to move at a higher speed. This results in an increased amount of braking, lane changing, and significantly increased chance of a collision, all as a result of speed variation.

Canadian engineers have even done research on this. After increasing the speed limit on a stretch of highway in British Columbia, accident numbers and resulting injuries/fatalities actually dropped in the first year. In addition to increased traffic flow, a higher, more reasonable speed limit decreases speed variance, resulting in an easier driving landscape to navigate.

Staying Safe on the Roads

There are a few generally good practice to follow to help improve safety on roads. Contrary to popular belief, this research shows the best thing to do speed-wise while on the highway is to drive with the flow of traffic. Likewise, stick to the right of the freeway if you feel as though the highway is going a little fast for you and allow faster drivers to pass on the left. This can not only help improve traffic flow, but also prevent you from getting a costly ticket for impeding traffic.

At The Terry Law Firm, our Morristown car accident attorneys have represented those who have been injured in car crashes for more than 45 years. Since 1960, we have strived to put the law on your side after you are injured through the careless negligence of another.

Call The Terry Law Firm today and get a free initial consultation by calling (423) 586-5800