Cars are safer than they have ever been, and manufacturers continue to introduce improvements. Yet, there is only so much your car can do to protect you in a collision.
Increased speed leads to an increased risk of injury or death in a crash
Road planners come up with new schemes to help traffic move faster. Car manufacturers produce cars that reach higher speeds with less effort. Yet assisting drivers to travel at higher speeds increases the danger to all road users.
A recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) shows that the faster you go, the less that car safety features can help you in a crash.
The study took identical cars and crashed them under controlled circumstances at 40 mph, 50 mph and 56 mph. They then examined the data from sensors they had installed in the vehicles.
It is no surprise that the faster the car went, the greater the harm done to the crash test dummy driver. The airbag protected a driver at 40 mph, but at 50 mph, it did not. The greater forces due to increased speed proved too much, and the driver’s head broke through the airbag and hit the steering wheel. At 56 mph, the risk of lower-body damage to the driver was much higher.
Speed increases also give drivers less time to react and avoid a crash. The faster another car is going, the less time they have to avoid you. The quicker you are going, the less chance you have to avoid them. Getting places fast is nice. Yet the question is, does the increase in the risk of severe injury or death make saving a few seconds worth it?