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How much time does speeding really save you?

We’ve all been there. You hit snooze one too many times, the shirt you were looking for was hiding behind a jacket, the dog wouldn’t come back inside and now you’re running late for your morning meeting. After questioning the sanity of scheduling a meeting for the first thing on a Monday morning, you realize the only way to make it on time is to speed.

It has been said that there are two kinds of drivers: Slow drivers (defined as those driving slower than you) and maniac drivers (those driving faster than you). So, once you hit Interstate 25, you become most other people’s maniac driver. You may not be flaunting the speed limit laws and no one’s going to mistake you for Lightning McQueen, but you lock in your speed at 65 miles an hour—10 miles over the limit. How much time do you save?

Time saved with speeding

First, remember that your speed is only one of the factors (red lights, traffic snarls, police patrols, etc.) that you’ll meet while driving. Most of these things determining how long your trip takes are out of your control. One researcher actually created a breakdown of the difference speeding makes:

  • 15-mile trip, 55 mph speed limit, 10 miles over the speed limit: 2.51 minutes saved
  • 30-mile trip, 55 mph speed limit, 10 miles over the speed limit: 5.04 minutes saved
  • 50-mile trip, 55 mph speed limit, 10 miles over the speed limit: 8.4 minutes saved

It looks like your speeding does not actually make a lot of difference—especially on shorter trips.

The unfortunate tradeoff with speeding

Another consideration before you put that pedal to the metal is the tradeoff. A University of Sydney study collected data from 106 drivers over a period of five weeks. The results showed a surprisingly small amount of time saved by speeding, just 26 seconds a day and 2 minutes a week. More importantly, these savings come at a cost of considerable injuries and fatalities. For every 2,458 hours saved by speeding on 100 km per hour (62 mph) roads, there’s one injury and there’s one fatality for every 24,450 hours saved.

Other costs of speeding

There are a few additional costs worth mentioning: increased stress, traffic tickets and increased fuel costs.

Driving closer to the speed limit should help reduce the number of accidents, injuries and fatalities—without actually adding much driving time to your trip. Leave the fast driving to professionals like Lightning McQueen!

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