It may seem obvious to you to hear that increasing your speed on the highway increases your chances of serious or even fatal injury in an accident. After all, you probably notice that speeds decrease in school zones, heavily populated areas and roads with many cross streets, and this is a matter of safety. Therefore, it may not surprise you to know that the faster the speeds of the vehicles involved in a head-on collision, the more the chances of survival decrease for the drivers and passengers.
A head-on collision often results in catastrophic, life-altering or fatal injuries. Still, worldwide research is finding that slower speeds in areas where you may encounter opposing traffic is one way to reduce the chances of these tragedies.
Is 43 the magic number?
Using mathematical formulas and physics experiments, researchers learned that 43 mph is the fastest speed at which you have a fighting chance to survive a head-on collision. For this reason, safety advocates warn you to avoid any Maryland highways where opposing traffic travels without dividers at speeds higher than 40 mph.
If either car in an accident is traveling faster than 43 mph, the chances of surviving a head-on crash plummet. One study shows that doubling the speed from 40 to 80 actually quadruples the force of impact. Even at 70 mph, your chances of surviving a head-on collision drop to 25 percent. Drivers who exceed the posted speed limit may not have these statistics and calculations, but they certainly must realize they are increasing the level of danger for other drivers.
What needs to change?
Despite the research that shows how deadly it can be to travel at high speeds, state and federal speed limits seem to keep increasing. Add to that a population of drivers who refuse to put away their distractions, and you may be taking your life into your hands every time you get behind the wheel.
Some safety advocates are working to eliminate undivided roads with speed limits that exceed 40 mph. However, until every driver takes responsibility for his or her actions behind the wheel, you and your family may still be at risk of injury or worse. If you should suffer injuries or lose a loved one in a high-speed head-on collision, you have every right to contact an attorney about seeking justice through the civil courts.