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Speeding cars on a highway

Why High-Speed Accidents Are Deadlier

It’s no surprise that high-speed collisions are deadly. Roughly 1-in-4 car crashes in America involve speeding, yet many Americans do not realize why. So what exactly makes high-speed accidents deadlier? Two things: Mass and acceleration.


Thinking back to high school physics, you might remember the equation force = mass x acceleration. The same is true in car accidents. The faster an object is traveling, and the heavier it is, the more force (damage) will be dispersed on impact. We can illustrate this very simply:

Say you own a mid-sized Sedan that weighs 3,200lbs. You’re traveling at 50mph when you rear-end another vehicle. In that case (after converting measurements), you’d impart 5,753 pounds of force.

Now say that you have the same Sedan, but you’re traveling 65 MPH. In a crash, you’d impart 8,646 pounds of force, about 34% more damage than before. This is alarming because your speed only increased by about 24%.

On the other hand, say that you were driving an SUV that weighs 4,000lbs. You crash at 50mph, imparting 10,048 pounds of force. Even though you’re driving slower than the speeding sedan, you actually cause more damage.

What Does This Mean?

The takeaway from this is that even low-speed crashes are much deadlier in a large vehicle. As speed and weight increase, the force of impact in a crash dramatically increases.

While safety measures can mitigate the impact, studies suggest that crashes with more than 15,000 pounds of force are more likely to cause injuries, and crashes with more than 20,000 pounds of force are likely to cause broken bones.

Next time you find yourself speeding, remember the risks. Speeding is inherently dangerous. It requires faster reaction times, increases the risk of a crash, and increases the chances that any crash you’re in will be catastrophic or even fatal.

If you or someone you love suffered severe injuries in a car crash, we are here for you. If you’d like to schedule a free case consultation with an experienced Columbus truck accident lawyer from Ross, Midian & Breitmayer, LLC, please don’t hesitate to call (614) 450-2223 or send us an email.