Speed and Safety

What is Speeding?

On different categories of road such as urban, rural roads, highways and expressways, the speed limit of the road is determined according to the road conditions, the traffic volume, and the habitation located nearby etc. This is termed as the design speed of the road and accordingly maximum speed limit road signs are installed at various locations on the road. On roads having four or more lanes, the speed limit may also be prescribed according to the category of the vehicles. Thus, driving a vehicle beyond the prescribed speed limit on a road is considered as violation of traffic rules and is termed as speeding.

If maximum speed limit road signs are not displayed on any road, then the driver of the vehicle should drive to his discretion at such a speed that in case of an emergency the vehicle can be stopped within time and at a required distance avoiding possibility of a road crash.

Speeding is a serious offence which is punishable under provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. According to section 183(1)(i) of the Act a person involved in speeding of an LMV can be penalized with a fine of Rs. 1,000/- and according to section 183(1)(ii) of the Act a person driving Medium or Heavy Goods or Passenger Vehicle can be penalized with a fine of Rs. 2,000/- for the first offence. For subsequent offence caused by a driver then his driving license shall be impounded as per the provisions of section 206(4) of this Act.

Causes of Speeding

Speeding is a major cause of road accidents in India. About 60 percent of road accidents in India occur every year due to speeding. The human body can tolerate trauma up to a certain limit, but when our body collides with a solid object at high speed, the severity of the injury increases significantly which may further lead to fatality. If a pedestrian collides with a motor vehicle moving merely at a speed of 30 km/hr it can cause serious of fatal injuries. Most of the drivers are aware of the damage caused by speeding but still they drive at higher speed. The main reasons behind speeding can be described as follows:

  • They get the impression that they are driving at low speed.
  • They speed because other drivers are also speeding.
  • Motorists think that speeding is not dangerous.
  • Youngsters feel the thrill of speeding.
  • Drivers speed to compete with other road users.
  • People generally speed up on good-conditioned roads.

Disadvantages of Speeding

Driving at high speed reduces the reaction time, increases the stopping distance, takes longer time to stop and increases the risk of serious injury manifold when accident occurs. Driving at high speed poses the following threats to our driving behavior:

  • Peripheral vision narrows i.e., the driver cannot see at the sides of the road.
  • The turning radius is increased due to which the vehicle has to cover more distance while taking a turn which results in moving the vehicle on to the wrong lane that may lead to a road crash.
  • Stopping distance increases, vehicle cover longer distance to stop and may collide with other vehicle or object, and the vehicle is not able to stop within the required distance and time.
  • Driving a two-wheeler at high speed increases the risk of unbalancing.

Increasing the speed of the vehicle increases the risk of accident manifold. On an average, reducing the traffic speed by 1 percent can reduce the number of accidents by up to 2 percent. Sometimes increasing speed by 5 km/hr unnecessarily or at a wrong location can lead to dangerous situation. In case of bad weather such as fog, rain or storm, the vehicle should be driven at a speed less than the prescribed speed limit.

Ways to Avoid Speeding

Please take the following measures to avoid speeding:

  • Leave 10 or 15 minutes earlier before the scheduled time.
  • Plan your journey and keep adequate time to reach safely.
  • Accept if you are late, but never overspeed to reach early.
  • If possible, assess the traffic situation on mobile before leaving.
  • Be aware in bad weather. Keep distance from the vehicle running in front and keep the speed slow.
  • Use seat belt and helmet these are meant for your safety.