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Speeding is No Big Thing, Right? Not So Fast

crazy driver.jpeg

Sure, weaving over the centerline into oncoming traffic because you're more than twice the legal limit (and you've got some opioids coursing through your system to boot), is dangerous.

Looking down at that text message on your iPhone and tapping out a quick response with a few emojis - traveling the length of a football field during that time - is also dangerous.

Taking a snooze while your Tesla's Autopilot does the heavy lifting from Point A to Point B is a cutting-edge example of dangerous driving.

Who cares about ho-hum speeding anymore?

In all of this, one of the earliest forms of dangerous driving - speeding, in which you accelerate quickly, push your car as fast as it will go, or go too fast for location and conditions - gets little attention these days.

But a recent article in Popular Mechanics reminds us why speeding is so dangerous.

It's about kinetic energy.

Avery Thompson writes, "A small change in speed [even just 10 mph] can dramatically increase the energy of a collision." The word exponential comes to mind, though that may not be the correct term. Doubling a car's speed, Thompson explains, quadruples its energy.

In other words, the energy released in a car crash - the same energy that causes so much physical damage to human beings - is much greater than you'd imagine it would be based on the speed you're traveling.

And that makes us drivers complacent, perhaps more accepting when it comes to speeding, as opposed to drunk driving, texting, or checking out on Autopilot.

We simply don't realize that the slow lane can be good for our health.

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