Many drivers exceed the speed limit or drive too fast for conditions. Driving at an unsafe speed can greatly increase the severity of a crash; the faster your vehicle is moving, the less time you have to react to a potential hazard, and for other drivers to react to you.
As impact speed increases over 80 km/h, the fatality rate for those in the vehicle goes up exponentially. For instance, the chance of being killed in a collision at 80 km/h is 2 times higher than if you were travelling at 64 km/h. When a vehicle crashes at a speed above 80 km/h, the chance of death is more than 50%.
Perception, reaction and stopping
Driver error accounts for the majority of traffic collisions. Most often drivers do not give themselves enough time for a quick response and decisive action.
The average time it takes for a driver to determine that a crash may occur, decide what to do and then do it is 1.5 seconds.
Driving at an unsafe speed reduces the amount of time you have to react and your control over the vehicle - increasing both the risk and severity of a crash.
Speeding also significantly increases the stopping distance of a vehicle. As your speed doubles, your stopping distance increases 4 times. If your speed triples, your stopping distance increases 9 times.
By reducing your speed, you give yourself more ways to find an alternative course of action and more time to react in order to avoid a potential collision. Even driving 10 km/h slower can make the difference between a close call and a fatal collision.
Speeding and road conditions
The posted speed limit is the recommended speed for ideal weather conditions. If the road surface is wet, snowy or icy, or visibility is reduced by fog or blowing snow, reduce your speed accordingly. Your safety depends on it. You can be fined if you are driving too fast for road conditions.
Speeding and pedestrian safety
The faster you go, the harder you'll hit someone. In most cases, a pedestrian struck by a vehicle travelling at 40 km/h or less survives, while most pedestrians struck by a vehicle travelling at 60 km/h or more die.
Over the years, it was quite common to suggest that a pedestrian was “run over” by a vehicle. Research indicates that pedestrians are actually “run under” a vehicle. The injuries that are sustained after being thrown to the road are not as serious as a person's first impact with a vehicle. The main cause of injuries to the legs and head of pedestrians are a vehicle's bumper and upper surface.
Speeding and the law
Drivers in Saskatchewan face a number of fines and charges for speeding. Drivers are also assessed demerit points under the Safe Driver Recognition program for different speed-related offences.
The Traffic Safety Act speeding offences:
- driving in excess of the maximum speed indicated by signs on the highway or at the park entrance
- driving in excess of 35 to 49 km/h over the speed limit
- driving in excess of 50 km/h over the speed limit
- driving at least twice the applicable speed limit
- exceeding a speed that is reasonable and safe in the circumstances
- exceeding the speed limit in a school zone
- exceeding 60 km/h when passing a stopped emergency vehicle, highway worker, flag person, snowplow, tow truck or highway equipment with warning lights on
Fines for these specific offences range from $70 to $210, with a per kilometre rate assessed for each kilometre in excess of the speed limit.
As part of the Safe Driver Recognition program, demerit points are assessed for unsafe driving.
The number of demerit points assessed depends on how much the unsafe behaviour contributes to collisions.
Traffic Safety Promotion
1-800-667-8015 ext. 6042