Download PDF to print (PDF 1.5 MB)

Drivers can

  • Remember that even before you can begin an evasive maneuver or braking, your reaction time will use up valuable ground. The higher the speed, the more ground you will cover in that first critical second and a half, and the longer it will take to stop your vehicle. These are critical moments when you may be able to avoid a crash.
  • Know that every time your speed doubles, your stopping distance quadruples.
  • Consider that you need more time to stop bigger, heavier vehicles, when you are going downhill, or are on wet, slippery, or uneven pavement. Make sure you give large trucks ample room when pulling in front of them.
  • Be aware that when you see the brake lights of the car in front of you, that driver has already reacted, and you will end up closer because you still have to begin to move your foot to the brakes.
  • Pay closer attention to your speedometer, especially before entering a curve where your vehicle is more likely to leave the road. Apply brakes before the curve.

  • On multi-lane highways with traffic, find a group of cars traveling within the speed limit and keep pace with cars around you. Vehicles moving at about the same speed are less likely to come into conflict, resulting in safer, more efficient travel.
  • Be sure to drive the appropriate speed for for the road conditions, even if you have to drive slower than the posted speed limit.

Parents can

  • Talk to your teens about other teens who have overestimated their driving abilities and underestimated stopping distances.
  • Drive the speed limit to be a good role model, prevent crashes, and save money. Any crash is costly in dollars and time. There is the time you have to take off from work or school to deal with the insurance company and repairs, and to find alternative transportation. If there are injuries, the costs increase even more.

Law Enforcement Officers can

  • Write tickets for speeding, because you change many drivers' behaviors. Drivers who speed are also less likely to wear their seat belts and are more likely to be alcohol-impaired, especially at night. Drivers who get warnings, on the other hand, believe they can drive more mph over the speed limit before they will get a ticket.
  • Include a discussion of stopping distances to educate speeding motorists at roadside stops.

  • Increase your visibility at high crash locations, because motorists will slow whenever they see a police car.

States and communities can

  • Adopt a comprehensive approach to changing drivers' speeding behaviors by encouraging planners, engineers, law enforcement, and communicators to work together. Review NHTSA, FHWA, and FMCSA's new Speed Management Plan. Just updated, it describes data and data-driven approaches, research and evaluation, technology, enforcement and adjudication, engineering, and education and communications.

Technologies can

  • Provide warnings to assist the driver. Car technologies are improving–some provide forward collision warnings and newer technologies provide crash-imminent braking.
Drivers see benefits in driving at or near the speed limit  •8 in 10 believe it makes it easier to avoid dangerous situations  •8 in 10 believe it reduces their chances of being in a crash  •3 in 4 believe it uses less fuel