Correlation of Speed to Severity of Rider Injuries

July 24, 2014 by  
Filed under Motorcycle Facts

Motorcycle front endThe rate of speed traveled increases the risk and danger of a crash and the related injuries, especially if it involves an unprotected motorcyclist. There are some phrases that directly related to this scenario.

  • Braking Distance is one, which means the amount of distance a motor vehicle will take to slow down and come to a complete stop.
  • Reaction time is another important term, which is how long it takes the driver of a motor vehicle to process what they see and react to the situation or hazard.

Using these two elements involving speeding, and the laws of travel, it is clear that in approximately 3 seconds a vehicle traveling 65 miles per hour (mph) will travel further than at 45 mph. It takes approximately 1.5 seconds as the amount of time on average that it will take a driver of a motor vehicle to see, process and react to a dangerous situation. This time amount increases to three seconds for motorists that are distracted, such as those drivers who are talking on cell phones, fatigued or driving under the influence.

The higher the rate of speed a vehicle is traveling it will affect the reaction distance and the braking distance, while the reaction time stays the same. The higher the rate of speed of the vehicle, the more ground it will cover between when the driver sees the hazard and reacts. The driver traveling at a slower rate of speed will have covered less ground and have more time to react; even though they will have the same amount of reaction time as the faster driver. According to highway transportation authority’s the inability to react fast enough results in approximately 40% of crashes resulting in fatalities in relation to speeding.

Vehicles that are speeding raises the risk of the driver losing control, since the vehicle is more difficult to maneuver and takes longer to use protective actions when necessary. This also results in more serious injuries, since there would be a more forceful impact, than a car that is traveling at a slower speed. An example of this would be two passenger vehicles that are the same weight, traveling on the same road and have the same braking ability, but are traveling at different speeds.

In the instance there was a pedestrian crossing the street and the drivers of these vehicles needed to stop, the braking distance from the time a pedestrian was seen would be different for the driver that was traveling at 65 miles an hour and driver traveling at 55 mph. The reaction time to apply the brakes from the time that the pedestrian is seen would be approximately 1.5 seconds.

A passenger vehicle that is traveling slower would typically have the necessary time to come to a complete stop, whereas the first vehicle would collide with the pedestrian causing severe injury or death. If you or a family member has been involved in a vehicle accident like this, in which injuries were sustained contacting a our seasoned law firm will definitely help get you on the road to recovery.


Written by Doos