Does Speeding Get You There Faster?

Written by Ryan Sharp

Published on

Let’s face it, we’ve all pushed the speed limit at some point in our lives. Whether intentionally or by mistake, those big numbers on the roadside sign don’t always match what’s shown on our speedometers.

When it comes to speeding on purpose, the list of excuses can be long:

“I don't normally speed but I was really late.”

“I was keeping up with the flow of traffic. If I was speeding, so was everyone else.”

“You have to speed to get anywhere nowadays.”

“I sometimes speed. But I’m a safe driver and I’ve never had an accident.”

“The quicker I go, the sooner I get there….”

Read that last one again. It seems like that should be true, right? Surely the faster you drive, the more ground you cover in a shorter amount of time.
But in reality, it doesn't always work that way.

Speeding comes at a price

Speeding contributed to 4,391 car accidents in Great Britain in 2020 — that’s 7.3% of all recorded road incidents. And travelling too fast for the conditions was a factor in 3,658, or 6.1% of road incidents (source GOV.UK).

Exceeding the speed limit can also cost you money (a £100 fine), points on your licence (a minimum of 3), and potentially your job.

Travelling at 100mph or more is likely to result in a court summons or an instant ban.

And yet we still feel the need to speed.

Do you actually gain anything by speeding?

So back to the question: Does speeding get you to your destination faster? Would couriers be able to deliver more packages if they raced along our roads

The short answer is no.

The only way you’d ever really gain by speeding is on a clear road over a long distance. (And just to be clear, we’d never condone speeding in any situation. Aside from the increased risk of causing an accident, there are potential fines and licence points to consider, not to mention other traffic, pedestrians, higher fuel costs, traffic lights and speed cameras. It’s just not worth it).

Another thing to consider is the faster you travel, the more you have to exceed the speed limit to gain any real time.

Say the speed limit is 30mph and you’re travelling at 40mph (33% over the limit). Over 10 miles, you’d gain 5 minutes (assuming the roads are completely clear). But if the speed limit was 70mph and you were travelling at 80mph (14% above), over 10 miles you’d only gain 1 minute.

So back to the idea of delivery drivers and couriers racing along our roads to gain a little extra time. How much time is really saved or gained by speeding?

The answer is very little indeed, and potentially at a cost.

Slow down to save time

The best way to gain any time, especially in towns, is by slowing down. It allows you to look ahead, anticipate the actions of other road users, and be more aware of your surroundings.

Time isn't lost through lack of speed, but rather lack of progress.

Things like traffic, road works and stop lights all contribute to busier and more congested roads. The key is to make progress where you can, safely.

Think about riding a bike around town. It’s best to avoid stopping and starting too much because of the physical effort of pedalling. So cyclists tend to slow down gradually on the approach to junctions and traffic lights. Get the timing right and you can make progress smoothly.

The same goes for driving. Slow and steady progress not only keeps you and other road users safer, it also helps to use fuel more efficiently.

So the next time you’re considering speeding to get somewhere faster, remember that slow and steady is usually best.

How fast does your fleet drive?

Did you know that we recently added speeding data to the Zego Fleet Portal?

Our risk score now takes into account driving behaviours that could potentially cause accidents. Along with braking and cornering, speeding data now gives fleet managers a more accurate, real-life view of how their fleet is driving.

How does it work?

Using smart calculations that track your drivers through localised speed limits, the fleet portal allows you to identify individuals who are driving too fast.

Not only that, you’ll also get clever insights and speeding tips, which you can use to help train and support the drivers who need it. By reducing these speeding events within your fleet, you can help to bring your overall risk score down.

Lower risk means a better performing fleet. And that can mean significant savings on your fleet insurance.