Does Speeding Really Save Time?

Speeding saves less time than you think and here’s the math that proves it.

Great effort is spent educating drivers about the dangers of speeding: from the long-term cost and inconvenience of a ticket to the increased likelihood of serious injury or death.

So, why do so many people do it?

Studies show people underestimate the time saved when increasing from a relatively low speed and overestimate the time saved when increasing from a relatively high speed. This phenomenon is known as the time-saving bias. The time-saving bias has been attributed to the fact we consistently fail to recognize the relationship between increasing speed and reducing time is not linear.

Here’s what’s mathematically happening when you speed:

A 10-mile trip at 10 mph takes 60 minutes. The same trip at 20 mph would take half the time - 30 minutes, considerable savings! Now let’s increase the speed to 30 mph. A 10-mile trip at 30 mph would take 20 minutes. And at 40 mph, the trip only takes 15 minutes.

Speeding does save a little time, but the most time is saved when accelerating from a low starting speed. Going from 40 mph to 50 mph will save 3 minutes, but going from 80 mph to 90 mph will only save 50 seconds—it’s the same 10 mph increase, but a pretty big difference in time saved. And this doesn’t factor in things like traffic or stop signs, which would make the trip time longer.

Speeding: It’s Risky Business

Speeding tickets are expensive and add long-term increases to your insurance coverage.

Worse than a ticket is the increased crash risk. The relation between speed and crashes is clear and has been shown in a large number of studies: the higher the speed, the greater the probability of a crash.

Furthermore, as speed increases, the injury severity in crashes also increases—and not just for the driver who is responsible for the crash occurring but for all others involved as well.

This is one of the reasons speed limits are set. However, this doesn’t mean ‘keeping to the limit’ is always safe. Speed is also dangerous if it is higher than the circumstances allow at that moment (e.g., rain, fog, or traffic volume).

Higher driving speeds also mean less time to process information and act on it, greatly reducing the chances of avoiding a crash.

Speeding doesn’t save much time and can add significant stress to your trip. Stay safe by following speed limits and remind the people you care about to slow down.

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