Excess or inappropriate speed and driving aggressively rank high as dangerous driving. They do not only put the driver at risk, but they also make every other road user present liable to injury or death. Excess speed and reckless driving are the major risks factors in road accidents. These two risk factors have to be duly considered.
Excess speed can be defined as driving beyond the stipulated speed limits. Excess speed contributes a huge proportion to road accidents and has one of the highest risks factors to cause morbidity or mortality when it results in a crash. The primary reason why excess driving is dangerous is that it makes the car harder to control and makes the car faster than the actions of the driver. At excess speed, the driver’s actions are most often guided by mere reflexes and not well-processed thoughts. A car becomes more likely to crash at excess speed, and the severity of such a crash depends on the rate of excesses in speed. Driving without being conscious of speed disqualifies one from a driving test.
A speeding offense does not occur when one exceeds the speed limits alone, but also when one drives inappropriately, such as driving rashly in particular conditions.
How Does a Person Drive at Excess Speeds?
Regular speed is speed below the speed limits. Speed limits state the maximum speed at which a driver can drive on a particular road and is often stipulated by road enforcement agencies and placed on road signs. Any speed exceeding the limit is excess, and penalties can be incurred by it. Beyond penalties, driving at excess speeds endangers life and properties and could lead to great losses.
Why Speed Limits?
Speed limits have a long history, but they were introduced with the intent to limit the speed of motorists, to prevent the likelihood of crashes, to make the road safer for all users and to adapt to the environmental peculiarities of the area. First introduced by the United Kingdom in 1861, speed limits are an effective speed control mechanism, alongside efficient implementation. Some countries denote speed limits the numerical value of kilometers per hour and some use meter per hour. Speed limits are made after consideration of numerous factors. These factors are recognized as the basic rule and are contained in article 13 of the Vienna Convention on Traffic Rules which states ” every driver of a vehicle shall in all conditions have his vehicle under proper control so as to be able to exercise due and proper care and to be at times in a position to perform maneuvers required of him. He shall, when adjusting the speed of his vehicle, pay constant regard to the circumstances, in particular the law of the land, the state of the road, the condition and load of his vehicle, the weather condition and density of traffic, so as to be able to stop his vehicle within range of his forward vision and short if any foreseeable obstruction. He shall slow down and if necessary stop where circumstances require, and particularly where visibility is not good “. Speed limits approximately gauge reasonable limits for speed in consideration of some of these factors. A speed limit is derived based on speculations if driving conditions and the basic rule.
Speed Limits According to Jurisdiction
Speed limits vary across different nations. From the numerical presentation of the limits to the way they are presented, there are often subtle differences. Most European countries design road signs in conformity with the Vienna Convention On Road Signs and Signals, which is a black text written in a red circle against a white background. In Australia, the signs are similar but are rectangular. Most states in America are rectangular with the words “Speed limit” in black over a white background and in Ireland has yeh speed limit written in black in the center of a circular sign with a white background and red borders. The speed limits are written in kilometers.
In Ireland, speed limits are set by the Department of Transport, Tourism, and Sports and enforced by the Irish Police Force (Garda Siochana). There are five different speed limits set through Ireland. Road signs indicate the speed limit on that road. The limits are Town and city speed limits (50 km/h), National road speed limits (100 km/h), Regional and local speed limits (80 km/h), Regional and local speed limits (80 km/h), Motorway speed limits (120 km/h) and Special speed limits (30 km/h or 60 km/h). Special speed limits apply specially designated areas like schools.
Except you drive an ambulance, a fire brigade service vehicle or a police car in the course of duty, you will attract penalties if you are caught driving beyond speed limits. Speeding offenses attract a fine of 80 pounds and three penalty points on your driving license. The Irish police are very strict, and you need to be aware of road regulations and interpretation of road signs. Driving in Ireland requires essential driver training, which you can get in the capital city of Dublin. A driving lesson helps you understand the rules and drive in a safe, secure way.
Aggressive driving is a combination of traffic offenses aimed at endangering other road users. Actions that constitute aggressive driving are identified by the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, and they are
- Following improperly / tailgating.
- Improper or erratic lane changing
- Illegal driving on a road shoulder, in a ditch, or on a sidewalk or median.
- Passing where prohibited.
- Operating the vehicle in an erratic, reckless, careless, or negligent manner or suddenly changing speeds without changing lanes.
- Failure to yield right of way.
- Failure to obey traffic signs, traffic control devices, or traffic officers, failure to observe safety zone traffic laws.
- Failure to follow warnings or instructions on vehicle displaying them.
- Failure to signal.
- Driving too fast for conditions.
- Making an improper turn.
Effects of Speed Offences and Aggressive Driving
The World Report on Road Traffic Injury Prevention States that “In high-income countries, speed contributes to about 30% of deaths on the road, while in some low-income and middle-income countries, speed is estimated to be the main contributory factor in about half of all road crashes “. Furthermore, increase in average speed of 1 km/h typically results in a 3% higher risk of a crash involving injury, with a 4–5% increase for accidents that result in fatalities, while Studies suggest that a 1 km/h decrease in traveling speed would lead to a 2–3% reduction in road crashes. The reduction is speed levels are safer.
Aggressive driving is hazardous and risky. According to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, aggressive driving played a role in 56% of fatal crashes between 2003 and 2007, most of which were attributed to excessive speed. Aggressive driving also negatively impacts the environment as it burns 37% more fuel and produces more toxic fumes.
Drivers should be careful when driving. Safe driving makes the road secure and reliable for everyone.