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Drivers Attitudes Towards Speed and Speeding

A continuation of Aggressive Driving

Part 2.4 Behavior, Selecting Speed, Safe and Unsafe

Behavior related to speed

Why Speed?  Are you late for a doctor appointment?  I think not.  Well it's possible.  Actually according to the survey, and I would have to agree with this is the fact that most people speed because we simply want to pass other drivers.  30% of all drivers reported that when driving they tend to pass more cars than being passed.  As driving maturity increased the need to pass decreased.  

Here are some questions asked, and the top percentage group responses:

  • Do you enjoy the feeling of speed?  50% of 16-20 year olds responded yes.
  •  The faster I drive the more alert I am.  29% agree.
  • Do you get impatient with slower drivers?  38% agree.
  • I try to get where I am going as fast as I can.  34% 16-20 year olds.
  • Worry a lot about having a crash.  33% of 16-20 year olds.

Over all men typically agreed slightly more about the statements.

Importance of Factors in Selecting Driving Speed

What keeps us in line?  Here are the top reasons. 

Weather conditions 96%
Posted speed limit 90%
Your past experience driving road 84%
How much traffic there is 81%
Chances of being stopped by police 75%
Speed of other traffic 75%
How much time you have to get to destination 60%

Safe and Unsafe Speed

Survey results maximum safe speed for type of road:

Residential Urban 35 mph
Residential Rural 35 mph
Non-Interstate Urban 55 mph
Non-Interstate Rural 60 mph
Interstate Urban 70 mph
Interstate Rural 70 mph

Overall information from this chapter reflected that people didn't want to drive too fast mainly because they feared injuring a pedestrian or for their own personal safety.

Summary from this chapter was:

Approximately half of all drivers reported keeping up with faster traffic and almost one-third reported being more likely to pass other drivers than to be passed. Both of these driving behaviors decreased with age. In general, positive feelings toward speeding -- as measured by agreement with the statements "I enjoy the feeling of speed," "I often get impatient with slower drivers" and "I try to get where I am going as fast as I can" -- decreased with age. However, agreement with the statement, "I worry a lot about having a crash" also decreased with age.

Drivers said that the major factors in determining the speed at which they drive were weather conditions, the posted speed limit and type of road. A large proportion of drivers felt it was "safe" to speed in certain situations (not in areas where children, playgrounds or schools were located). Yet three drivers in ten felt speeding was a factor in at least 75 percent of fatal crashes, and two-thirds felt speeding was involved in at least 50 percent of all fatal crashes.

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Information provided by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration