In late August, a pickup truck drove off an overpass on Akers Road and landed in the middle of I-75. While accident investigators have not yet completed their investigation, excessive speed may have been a factor in the accident. That is, the truck’s driver may have been driving too fast before taking the offramp onto Akers Road.

While exceeding posted speed limits may increase a driver’s risk of injury, speeding may also make automobile accidents more severe. Here are three reasons speed tends to increase the severity of motor vehicle crashes.

  1. Reaction time and stopping distance

When it comes to speeding on the highway, reaction time and stopping distance work against each other. That is, the faster you drive, the less time you have to react to roadway hazards. Meanwhile, speed increases your vehicle’s stopping distance. Therefore, if you are speeding, you have less of an opportunity to avoid a collision and an increased risk of causing serious damage during a crash.

  1. Kinetic energy

When you are driving on a freeway, your vehicle has kinetic energy. Whether you remember physics class or not, you should know that kinetic energy must disperse. Generally, your vehicle’s brakes disperse this energy in a controlled fashion. If you run into another vehicle, though, the energy is likely to transfer into it. The faster you go, the more kinetic energy the object you hit must absorb.

  1. Additional vehicles

As you likely know, if you tap another vehicle when driving 5 miles per hour in a parking lot, the incident is apt to only involve two cars. That is not necessarily the case with a speed-related accident. If you collide with another car when driving too fast, you may push the vehicle into other cars or objects. If there are many vehicles on the road, you may cause a multicar pileup.

While exceeding the speed limit may earn you a costly traffic ticket, you should also realize it may increase the severity of an automobile collision. As such, you should always think twice before pushing your car’s accelerator to the floorboard.