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Driving Fast: Is It Worth It?

By Insurance.com Posted : 03/07/2007

There are few feelings like the exhilaration of acceleration. Faster is Better. You’ll never hear anyone brag about his record longest trip driving across state. You’ll never hear someone boasting about how slow her new car is. We love the sensation of being forced against our seat backs, or watching the world recede quickly into the rear view mirror.

That’s why they have speed limits. And although the Nixonian post-fuel crisis speed limit of 55 mph—a painfully slow crawl—has been undone and we can cruise at 65 mph in most states, there are still those who clamber for higher and faster.

Driver’s paradise?
Unfortunately for these folks, it is unlikely that we will ever have the American equivalent of the Autobahn, where speeds are limited only by a driver’s vehicle, desire, and judgment. When the federally mandated limits were first repealed, Montana briefly played with a speed limit of “reasonable and prudent.” The “Montanabahn” only lasted a few years and now the trip from Lewiston to Great Falls is limited not by the amount of lead in a driver’s foot, but by the long arm of the Law. (Sigh.)

Does speed kill?
The relationship between speed and accidents is well studied. There are some studies that show that speed is dangerous. These consequences are undeniable:

  • Speed increases the distance a vehicle travels from the moment a driver detects an emergency until the moment the driver reacts
  • Speed increases the distance needed to stop a vehicle
  • Crash and injury severity increases by the square of the speed—double your speed, and the severity of the crash quadruples

Definitely something worth thinking about.

High speed = high insurance premiums
And there are things besides crashes to think about as well. If you speed, you increase the chances that you’ll pay for it—literally. Fines for speeding can be quite hefty. And the pain doesn’t stop there. More points on your license means bigger premiums. As a general rule you can expect one four-point ticket to increase your insurance premiums by at least 50% for each of the next three years. Ouch.

So, think twice before you put the pedal to the metal just for the thrill of it. The consequences can be dangerous, painful and expensive.

For those interested in the fastest legal speeds, the following list should be helpful.

States with a 75 mph speed limit on rural highways
New Mexico
North Dakota
South Dakota

Alas, not a single state east of the Mississippi.

Please note that this description/explanation is intended only as a guideline.

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