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Vehicle speeds and stopping distances

Many factors can contribute to a car crash. A driver may be drunk, using a cellphone, eating, or fatigued while behind the wheel. The presence of any of these factors can spell trouble for other motorists. A drunk driver can swerve into oncoming traffic, a fatigued driver can fall asleep and rear-end the car in front of him, and a texting driver may fail to yield to a pedestrian. However, one of the most common factors related to car accidents is speeding. To get a better grasp of just how dangerous speeding can be, it might be helpful to look at stopping distances given certain speeds.

A quickly moving vehicle can take a long time to stop. For example, a car moving at 60 miles per hour is moving at 88 feet per second. Given one second for driver reaction, it would take this vehicle more than 300 feet to come to a complete stop, which is longer than a football field, and more than five seconds. Traveling just five miles per hour faster, at a rate of 65 mph, adds forty feet to the distance needed to bring the vehicle to a stop.

It is worth noting that these figures are for a vehicle operating on a dry road, with reasonably good tires, braking in a way that stops the car safely. However, as many Tennesseans know, this is not always reality. Therefore, a speeding driver, even if he or she has good reflexes, will often need a significant amount of space and time to stop. Unfortunately, this means that those in close proximity to a speeding motorist could wind up suffering personal injury in a car wreck.

Those who suffer injuries at the hands of a reckless driver should consider their legal options to see if any support their best interests. By speaking with a Knoxville attorney skilled in these matters, a victim may be able to recover compensation and focus on regaining his or her health.

Source: University of Pennsylvania, "Vehicle Stopping Distance and Time," accessed on April 24, 2015

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