During the early months of the pandemic, did you notice more fast cars on the road? (And, be honest: Did you step on the gas yourself when the roads were less busy?)
The trend is noticeable – and several national highway safety organizations agree. Some groups, such as the Governors Highway Safety Association, are now sounding the alarm about the increase and launching programs to combat it.
Earlier in 2021, we surveyed 500 U.S. drivers to gauge their attitudes and behaviors regarding speeding. Keep reading to see what we found out.
Life in the Fast Lane
One in 10 of all drivers (11%) admitted to driving at extreme speeds – that’s 20 mph or more over the speed limit much more often than normal during the early months of the pandemic.
Men were almost twice as likely (14%) as women (8%) to say they drove at extreme speeds much more often than normal.
While we all like to shave a few minutes off the GPS arrival time, speeding is a dangerous habit. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, high speeds make fatal car crashes more likely. Why? Because at high speeds, it takes longer to stop – or to at least slow down enough – for a crash to be survivable. Crash energy increases exponentially as speeds go up.
Here’s a sobering number from the IIHS: One in four crash fatalities can be attributed to someone driving too fast. In 2019, the most recent year for which data are available, more than 9,000 deaths occurred in speed-related crashes.
Why Do Drivers Speed?
Back to our survey. Why are we in such a hurry – and what did COVID-19 have to do with it? We asked drivers why they sped much more often than normal early in the pandemic. Here are the five most popular reasons:
- 66%: The roads were not congested, so I felt it was safe to drive faster than posted speed limit.
- 46%: I’m a good driver, so I felt I could drive safely, even at high speeds.
- 34%: It seemed like there was far less law enforcement out, so I felt I could speed without getting a ticket.
- 25%: In general, I think posted speed limits are slower than necessary and I prefer to drive faster.
- 17%: The empty roads were a good opportunity to see how fast my car could go.
Can Better Road Design Kick Speeding to the Curb?
Our survey also asked drivers about so-called “traffic calming” measures. Popular tactics include lane narrowing and chicanes, which are deliberate curves put into an otherwise straight road. A narrow road with curves can be safer because drivers have to pay more attention and drive more slowly than they do on a wide, straight one where it’s easier to speed.
However, most drivers surveyed assumed the opposite:
- 69% of drivers said straight, wide roads tend to be safer
- 13% of drivers said narrow, curved roads are safer.
- The rest weren’t sure.
For full survey results, check out our infographic at the bottom of the article.
Read more: I got a speeding ticket. Now what?
If you tend to be somewhat of a lead foot and find yourself with a speeding violation, it’s good to know how a speeding ticket could affect your insurance – whether it’s your first violation or not.
Also, several automakers continue to introduce new technologies to help make your car smarter — and safer.
Erie Insurance is doing our part to help improve driver safety, one trip at a time. You can become a safer driver and have the chance to earn some great rewards with YourTurn. Reach out to an Erie Insurance agent to learn more.
Site URL: www.erieinsurance.com/blog/speeding-survey
Drivers Spill the Tea on Speeding.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, high speeds make fatal car crashes more likely. As these safety organizations noticed an increase in speeding early in the pandemic and look to launch more programs to stop it, Erie Insurance commissioned a national survey to gauge drivers’ attitudes and behaviors towards speeding.
One in 10 drivers admitted to driving at extreme speeds (20 mph or more over the speed limit) during the early months of the pandemic.
Why’d they do it?
The roads were not congested so they felt it was safe to drive faster than posted speed limits 66%
They’re good drivers so felt they could drive safely, even at high speeds46%
It seemed like there was far less law enforcement out, so they felt they could speed without getting a ticket 34%
They think that in general, posted speed limits are slower than necessary and they prefer to drive faster 25%
The empty roads were a good opportunity to see how fast their car could go 17%
Who is doing it?
Men were almost twice as likely as women to say they drove at extreme speeds much more often then normal. 14% vs. 8%, respectively.
Of the 46% who said they were good drivers even at high speeds:
71% ages 18-24
19% ages 45-54
Slowing you down
Drivers tell us some of the traffic slowing features they support:
Rumble strips 62%
Speed bumps 55%
Unsafe driving behaviors impact more than just your auto insurance rate. You’re also putting yourself and other travelers at risk for accidents and injury. Protect yourself and others with the right auto coverage from ERIE. Go to erieinsurance.com/auto-insurance for more information.
The survey was conducted online by Falls & Co. on behalf of Erie Insurance, from August 22 through September 2, 2021, among 500 U.S. licensed drivers ages 18 and older. Falls & Co. established the sampling quotas, designed the questionnaire, tabulated the survey responses, and managed the overall project. Falls & Co. used Dynata (Plano, TX) to administer the survey via the internet, including mobile devices, to Dynata’s captive U.S. panels who met the age, gender, and regional demographic criteria.
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