Speeding and Accidents: How it affects your auto insurance rates

Auto Insurance

Maybe you're running late, have a mild case of road rage or just love driving fast. At one time or another, the need for speed possesses us all. But before you stomp down on the accelerator, consider how speed affects your chances of an accident.

Scientific data that shows the average driver's reaction time is one-and-a-half seconds. Going a mere three miles an hour over the limit nearly doubles your risk for an accident. Add to the mix fiddling with your stereo or answering a phone call or eating a snack and your reaction time can be as slow as three seconds.

Your speed affects other factors, which may also hamper your capability to react quickly.

Braking distance. It varies depending on the road conditions, the street's incline, your tire condition and of course…your speed. According to physics, your braking distance is proportional to the square of your speed. That means that the faster you drive, the greater the distance required to to slow down.

Control and handling. The faster you drive, the less likely you're in full control of your automobile. Another physics fact comes to mind: Newton's First Law of Motion, which states that an object in motion stays in motion.

Inertia is the resistance that makes it difficult for an object to change its state of rest or motion—the reason a person will keep moving after their car has stopped, if they aren't restrained by a seatbelt. In order to counter inertia, you must apply force, like turning your steering wheel. The faster you're moving, the greater the force between you tires and the road and the more likely you will lose control of your car. Faster speeds also increase the likelihood that a driver will over or under turn.

Not only does a speeding ticket greatly increase your insurance rates, it raises your chance of an accident. And even if you are a crackerjack driver with a clean record, you can't account for other people's driving skills.

So ease your foot off the pedal and see your accident potential plummet!