Speed is one of the biggest factors in fatal crashes on Britain's roads.
The vast majority of drivers in the UK are well aware that speeding is against the law and carries with it certain penalties. Speed cameras are a familiar sight on our roads and are in place to punish those who ignore the rules of the road, putting other drivers at risk.
Speeding directly causes thousands of serious injuries and accidents every year and it is important that more of us are educated about the inherent dangers of speeding, to encourage safer and more responsible driving.
Less time to react
Speeding is dangerous because when a car is travelling at a high speed the driver has less time to identify potential hazards and react to what is happening on the road.
According to the Department of Transport, in 2011 3,267 people were killed or seriously injured in crashes where speed was a factor. This is because thinking distances and braking distances are greatly increased by relatively small increases in speed.
When drivers give themselves less time to react to situations, it puts passengers, pedestrians and other road users at increased risk of death or injury.
It's 30 for a reason
Those who exceed speed limits by a few miles per hour may consider what they are doing to be relatively harmless, especially in areas where the limit is 30mph. However, over half of all crashes in which people are killed or injured happen on roads with a speed limit of 30mph or less. In these situations the chance of a pedestrian being killed in a collision rapidly increases when a car reaches over 30mph. If struck by a car travelling between 30 mph and 40 mph, a person is up to five times more likely to be killed than if hit by a car travelling under 30 mph.
Although there are typically more cars on the road in urban areas, fatal accidents are four times more likely to occur on rural roads than on urban roads.
Drivers often take the upper speed limit as an indication of how fast they should be driving, but it is always safe to stay well within the limit to allow more time to react should it be needed. This is particularly relevant when driving on rural roads, which tend to be narrower, containing more blind corners and uneven road surfaces than urban roads.
Speeding carries with it a greater risk of losing car control, and increases the likelihood and severity of accidents when they occur. Alongside these dangers it can also lead to fines, penalty points and in certain cases driving bans. The government has been trying to hammer home the message that speed kills with regular campaigns over the past few years.
Drivers can help prevent more fatal incidents by sticking to the limit, adjusting their driving to road conditions and planning ahead before driving.