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Blog category: Driving

10 Ways to Stop Speeding and How to Break the Habit

8 min read

Do you have a lead foot? Even if you only go a few miles over the posted speed limit, regular speeding can lead to dangerous situations on the road. The faster you drive, the less time and space you have to stop or react if something happens in front of you.

Understanding the Dangers of Speeding

Speeding can kill. Even if it doesn’t result in a fatality, the impact of a speeding car crashing into another vehicle makes the collision much worse. If a speeder hits a pedestrian, bicyclist, or motorcyclist — individuals with no protection around them — the accident is more likely to prove tragic than if the driver were obeying the speed limit.

The National Safety Council (NSC) notes that speeding increases vehicle stopping distance and reduces the ability of guardrails and other road safety structures to protect vehicle occupants in a crash. Driving too fast also makes it easier to lose control of your car. Since stopping takes longer, even slamming on the brakes may not prove enough to prevent a collision.

Additionally, some of your vehicle's protective features, such as the driver assistance system, may not work as effectively when the car moves too fast.

Speeding in a taller vehicle like an SUV or pickup truck increases the odds of a rollover crash significantly.

How to Avoid Speeding Tickets

No driver ever wants to get pulled over. Keep in mind that police officers are always on the lookout for speeders. While following all traffic safety regulations is crucial, paying close attention to your speed is one of the best ways to avoid attracting attention from law enforcement.

Police officers tend to be on the roadways during the busiest traffic hours. If possible, stay off the road during the main morning and evening commute times. Of course, that isn’t a possibility for everyone. If you commute and find you frequently drive over the speed limit, try allowing more time to get to your destination so being late is less of a worry.

Always pay close attention to your surroundings. For instance, many areas have significant speed reductions. These include school zones, low-traffic residential areas, and construction zones. In many jurisdictions, speeding ticket fines are much higher if they occur in work or school zones. Any traffic violation in such areas is considered a more serious matter.

Always adjust your speed for the appropriate road conditions. If it’s pouring rain, do not drive as fast as you would on a bright, sunny day. One of the most dangerous road situations involves mud, dirt, or gravel roads. According to the NSC, speeding was a factor in 43 percent of all fatal crashes on such roads, compared to 18 percent of fatalities occurring on dry roads.

How Speeding Can Affect Your Car Insurance

Speeding is perhaps the most common driving mistake. If you’re not paying close attention to the speed limit, it’s easy to go 10 or more miles over it. If a police officer stops you, telling them you weren't paying attention may be the truth, but it’s not an excuse, and you may receive a warning or a ticket.

A speeding ticket can cost as much as $500, depending on how fast you were going. While most drivers won’t pay that much for a traffic violation — unless they were going extremely fast and causing a dangerous situation — a more typical fine is around $100. But that’s not the end of the matter financially. Getting a ticket for driving too fast will raise your car insurance premium.

On average, California drivers can expect to pay 37 percent more annually for full coverage insurance after just one speeding ticket. Full coverage includes liability, uninsured motorist, and comprehensive and collision insurance.

Expect to pay these higher rates for at least three years. If you incur other driving infractions during this period, you could pay more for insurance for even longer. The bottom line is that a speeding ticket may cost a driver many times the actual cost of the ticket when increased car insurance rates and fees are taken into account.

In some cases, drivers have the option to attend driving school to remove the ticket from their record so it doesn’t affect their insurance. In California, Wawanesa Insurance still offers among the lowest average rates for drivers — even after a speeding ticket.

How Safe Driving Can Improve Insurance Premiums

You can expect to save on your auto insurance premiums when you have a safe driving record. Insurance companies use a carrot-and-stick approach, rewarding safe drivers and penalizing those who regularly don’t obey traffic regulations.

At Wawanesa, the tagline “Good drivers deserve great rates,” means that safe drivers reap the benefits. A car insurance discount is available to drivers who have had their licenses for at least three years, have been DUI-free for at least 10 years, and have a maximum of one violation point or one at-fault accident in the past three years.

Use these safe driving tips to help you learn how to stop speeding and be a safer driver.

1. Start Cruising

The easiest way to avoid speeding is to use your cruise control. Most modern cars come equipped with cruise control, which lets you set a specific speed for driving. Your car will take care of maintaining and regulating your speed so you can focus on potential hazards on the road.

Cruise control is especially helpful on long drives or the freeway. You can easily set the pace you want based on the current traffic and speed limit for the road you’re on. Be sure to cancel cruise control if you find yourself in a high-risk area like an active construction zone. You should also avoid cruise control in wet or icy weather, as it can cause your vehicle to lose grip on the road.

2. Give Yourself More Time

Do you speed because you find yourself behind schedule? Get in the habit of leaving a cushion around your travel time. Start by adding a couple of minutes then as your new habit forms, start adding extra time based on where you’re going, your journey’s length, and the traffic situation. (This practice also helps you avoid stressing out when you experience hold-ups.)

3. Check Your Speedometer

Your speedometer tells you how fast you’re going. Like most mechanical or electronic components in vehicles, your speedometer can get out of alignment. If you regularly find yourself passing lots of vehicles but your speedometer says you’re going the speed limit, you may need to visit an auto repair shop. The mechanic can take a look at your speedometer to make sure it’s working properly and displaying an accurate speed.

4. Learn the Cost of Speeding

Understanding the cost of your speeding habit could be enough to get you to stop speeding. Research the speeding laws in your local area and state. You might be surprised to learn how much even one speeding ticket could cost. Too many tickets could also lead to a suspended license.

Speeding doesn’t only cost you legal fees. You’ll probably pay more at the pump if you regularly speed. Driving faster often uses more gas, so you’ll need to fill up more often. A couple of extra bucks at the pump may not seem like much, but it can add up over a year.

Being a good driver, on the other hand, could make you eligible for car insurance discounts. The safer you drive, the more likely you’ll save on car insurance.

5. Consider Your Tires

Driving faster doesn’t just affect your gas tank. You’ll also wear your tires out quicker by driving too fast too often. In addition to the cost to replace your tires, bald tires or those with low air could cause tire blowouts when driving.

6. Identify Speeding Triggers

Speeding doesn’t always happen because you’re running late. Other factors like stress or anger can cause you to drive too fast. Learning your triggers can help you learn how to stop speeding altogether.

For example, you might be prone to speeding when you’re tired and trying to get home after a long day. To drive slower, consider resting before you leave, grabbing a coffee, or stopping during your drive to take a break.

7. Practice Calming Exercises

A lot of drivers start speeding when they’re stressed or angry. If a driver cuts you off, it can frustrate you. Even if you don’t notice, there’s a good chance you’re pressing harder on the gas pedal.

Calming exercises like breathing routines could help reduce these feelings — and your speed. Try experimenting with different methods to take your mind off of your stress or anger, such as listening to calming music on the radio.

8. Use Technology

You shouldn’t actively use your cell phone while driving, but some apps can be used safely and help you drive slower. Several navigation apps have built-in speed monitoring when you set a route. You’ll get an alert from the app letting you know if you’ve started going too fast. You can then slow down until the alert goes off. Be sure to set your destination and start the navigation before you hit the road.

9. Enjoy Speed in Other Activities

If you’re an adrenaline junkie, you might feel like you need to drive fast for the thrill of it. Rather than making public roads less safe, consider moving your need for speed to another activity. You can try picking up a completely different skill, like motocross or downhill mountain biking. You could also stay behind the wheel by visiting your local go-kart track or playing car racing video games.

10. Switch to a Manual

Do you feel like you speed because you’re not focused enough on driving? Switching from an automatic vehicle to a manual one could keep your brain engaged with your speed as you drive. In a manual, you’ll need to physically shift gears to get to higher speeds. This could help you be more aware of the speed you’re going.

Stop Speeding and Drive Safer

Breaking your speeding habit isn’t just good for your wallet or driving record — it also helps make the road a safer place for everyone. In addition to driving slower, you can make roads safer by having the right auto insurance coverage. Speak with a Wawanesa agent today to learn more about your coverage options.

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The above content is for informational purposes only and is not a direct representation of coverages offered by Wawanesa or its policies. The information does not refer to any specific contract of insurance and does not modify any definitions, provisions, exclusions or limitations expressly stated in any contracts of insurance. All references within the above content are illustrative and may not apply to your situation. The terms and conditions of the actual insurance policy or policies involved in a claim are determinative as to whether an accident or other loss is covered. To understand the coverage under your current policy, please log into the account management platform to review your policy or contact an agent directly.

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