Speeding Can Kill

Nathaniel T

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Imagine you are a newly licensed driver, finally taking your car out for a spin without anyone else in the car. You know the risks of driving distracted; you know you’re never going to pull out your phone, eat while driving, or have a conversation on your phone when you’re at the wheel. However, what you are doing is running late to a meet-up with your friends for lunch, and you know you’re not going to get there on time. If you obey the speed limits, at least. You see a sign telling everyone not to go over 45 miles per hour, but you’ve seen so many people pushing it a little, only going 5 or above. You’ve heard so many people, even your parents, saying that you won’t get in trouble, that the cops won’t pull you over for it. You look ahead: it’s a straight, flat road for the next mile or so, and no cars are in sight. You promise never to do it again, that this is a one time thing. You lightly apply more gas, and you watch your speedometer push past 45, slowly into 46, 47, and eventually 50. This is the farthest you’ll go, and you already feel guilty for doing it. You know it’s a bad idea, but you keep on going, telling yourself this is the only way you’ll get to lunch on time.  You saw it coming, but you didn’t actually think it would happen: you’re not getting to lunch at all. An intersection you didn’t see when scouting ahead comes out of nowhere, and those few extra miles per hour you put on took away the time you need to brake. You see a flash of red, hear the screeching of the brakes, not knowing whether it was your car or the other, and the last thing you see before you lose consciousness is the driver. He has the same look in your face, the same look of regret for not stopping at the stop sign just like your regret for speeding. Everything goes black, and after an unknown amount of time passes, you’re in a hospital bed, unable to move. The doctors tell you you’re paralyzed from the neck down, and there is no hope for recovery. Your parents and your siblings are in the same room, and you can see the sadness on their faces, knowing as you do that nothing will ever be the same for you. They say it was an accident, but you know in your heart that it was a choice. All of this could have been avoided if you chose to show up late and drive safely. You’re never going to know if going at 45 miles per hour would have mitigated the impact of the collision, or if it you never would have crashed in the first place. Maybe driving only slightly more slowly would have taken you to that intersection after the red car passed, and you would be eating with your friends right now. Don’t speed. There are reasons for speed limits, and speeding reduces the period of time you have to react. Speeding was a contributing factor in 31% of all fatal crashes, and 13,040 lives were lost in speeding-related crashes in 2007. Even if you’re not driving distracted, speeding can and will kill people every year. Think about your family and your friends, and imagine how they would be impacted if you were killed or severely injured in a crash. Is it worth it?