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When it comes to speed, you can’t argue with physics

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Article image for When it comes to speed, you can’t argue with physics

When it comes to driving, there’s a few variables that play a part in how risky and how safe each journey is.

Some are beyond your control, beyond the steering wheel at your fingertips.

But there’s one major risk factor that you can control – your speed.

As a driver, you decide your speed. Physics decides the rest.  And, you can’t argue with science.

Speed contributes to your stopping distance when braking suddenly and to the severity of impact if a crash occurs. Reduced speeds reduce the force of impact.

In 2019 on Western Australian roads, 52 people lost their lives in speed related crashes, according to the Road Safety Commission.  30 on regional roads.  22 on metro roads.

The speed zone where most fatalities occurred was at 110km/h.

There is clear evidence that lower speeds would mean fewer crashes, fewer deaths and fewer serious injuries in WA. Research shows speed reduction would be the most successful of all possible initiatives to prevent deaths and serious injuries on our roads.

The faster you travel, the longer it takes to stop.  Most drivers don’t know that it takes on average 45 metres to stop a car travelling at 60km/h.

Travelling at 70 km/h increases the chance of crashing by four times and travelling at 80 km/h increases this chance by 32 times.

Following the speed limit is only one factor.  Remember, the speed limit is the maximum speed allowed, it’s not the goal. In selecting your speed, consider the road conditions.  That is,

  • The road layout, lower your speed when the road bends
  • Surface quality, for example unsealed roads or wet/icy roads,
  • Your vehicle‘s condition/age affects your ability at higher speeds,
  • Are the weather conditions causing low visibility, such as heavy rain, fog or sun glare.

Don’t risk it – bring down your speed and drive to the conditions.

To take the Physics of Speed simulation challenge, visit

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