High-Speed Havoc: The Alarming Dangers Teens Face on the Road 

In 2016, the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police (ILACP) founded Illinois Speed Awareness Day. Speed Awareness Day is celebrated on July 26th 2023 and is a combined statewide effort involving public and private stakeholders partnering to address the issue of excessive speeding on Illinois roadways and the deadly impact speeding has on safety. This year Illinois is joined by; Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska to spread awareness of the dangers of speeding and to save lives.  

When you’re speeding, you’re driving faster than the posted speed limit. Speeding is incredibly dangerous, especially for young drivers. In fact, it is the leading cause of death among teens in America. Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that speeding-related crashes accounted for 26% of all traffic fatalities in 2019. Additionally, studies have found that approximately 33% of drivers admit to exceeding the speed limit on a regular basis.  


Loss of Control and Safety 

When you exceed the speed limit, you increase the likelihood of losing control of your vehicle and getting involved in a crash. According to traffic safety experts, reducing average speeds by just 5% can result in a 30% reduction in fatal crashes. When you travel at higher speeds, it takes longer for your vehicle to come to a complete stop. This extended stopping distance can be especially dangerous in situations where you need to react quickly. Additionally, driving at high speeds can make safety features like seat belts and airbags less effective.  

Being involved in any sort of crash is incredibly dangerous. The force generated during a collision can cause traumatic injuries like broken bones, spinal cord damage, head trauma, and internal organ injuries. The danger extends beyond the individuals involved; families and loved ones also suffer emotional distress and may shoulder the responsibility of long-term caregiving. 


Keys to Preventing Speeding-Related Crashes 

Planning ahead before hitting the road is one of the most effective strategies to avoid speeding. Giving yourself more than enough time for your drive ensures that even if you’re delayed, you can still reach your destination on time without the need to speed. 

Speeding can occur when you are distracted and focused on other things. Even if it isn’t on purpose, speeding is speeding. Staying focused on the road and being aware of the actual speed limits will help you self-regulate and slow things down when you need to. 

Your mood can influence your driving behavior. Driving can be stressful, so learning how to stay calm under pressure can significantly reduce the likelihood of speeding. By identifying the triggers that make you more susceptible to speeding, you can take proactive steps to address and overcome them. 

Defensive driving is a crucial skill that can help protect yourself and others on the road, especially when encountering a speeding driver. maintain a safe distance from the speeding vehicle, giving yourself time to react if they make sudden movements. Do not engage the driver if possible and maintain your constant speed. If you focus on your safety and do not respond aggressively, you should be able to avoid the worst outcomes. 


Awareness and Consequences of Speeding 

Understanding that speeding is a pervasive problem and that young drivers are particularly vulnerable due to their limited experience behind the wheel is the first step. Studies show that male drivers 15-24, are more likely to speed and get into speeding-related crashes. When you speed, you’re breaking the law, and you risk police involvement and permanent consequences that can affect the rest of your life. Speeding can also cause you to lose your driving privileges. The faster you drive, the greater the likelihood of a crash, putting the safety of yourself and others at risk. 

Preventing speeding is not just about adhering to the law but also prioritizing the safety of yourself and others on the road. By practicing proactive planning, maintaining focus, managing your mood, and consistently displaying responsible driving habits, you can help create a safer driving environment and reduce the risks associated with speeding. 

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