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What teenagers need to know about speeding could save lives

You may be among the multitude of parents here in Texas who both fear and await your teenager being able to drive. On the one hand, it remains a rite of passage of sorts. On the other hand, when your teen starts to drive, it puts him or her in danger and makes your child a potential danger.

Due to their inexperience, teens lack the skill necessary to know what a vehicle can and can't do under certain circumstances. Take speeding, for instance. Everyone drives over the speed limit from time to time, but without a healthy respect for the capabilities and limitations of the vehicle and knowledge needed to respond to how speed changes driving, doing so as a teenager could end in disaster.

What should teenagers know about speeding?

Other than the fact that speeding could result in a traffic ticket, teens need to know the following when it comes to driving over the posted speed limit or too fast for the road conditions:

  • The faster you travel, the less effective the vehicle's safety measures are.
  • Other drivers may not be able to adequately judge how far away your vehicle is or how soon it may reach them.
  • Braking distance and impact energy increases with every mile per hour.
  • Speed limits are only effective in good road and weather conditions. It may be necessary to slow down, depending on the weather and the road, even if it means dropping below the posted speed limit.
  • The faster the vehicle goes, the less contact it may have with the road. This can be dangerous when going around curves where traction is critical.
  • If a vehicle moves faster than the vehicle in front of it, it closes the two-second gap recommended in order to be able to respond to sudden slowing, stopping or turning.
  • Speed limits are not arbitrary. They depend on the environment, pedestrian traffic and the design of the roadway.
  • The faster a vehicle is going, the less time the driver has to react to an emergency.
  • A driver's perceptions and reaction time, along with the vehicle stopping capabilities and reaction time, affect the distance a vehicle needs in order to come to a complete stop.

If teens understand the above, it may help keep them from speeding and risking their lives and the lives of others.

What happens if a teenager's speeding causes an accident?

Whether your teenager was a passenger in a car with a speeding teen who caused a crash or you were the victim of a multiple-vehicle accident caused by a teen who was speeding, the injuries suffered could be severe. You or a member of your family could face a significant recovery period, and a full recovery may not even be possible. You could spend tens of thousands of dollars, if not more, on medical bills, lost wages and other expenses related to the crash.

Although a personal injury claim -- or a wrongful death claim in the event of death -- can do nothing about the physical, emotional and psychological recovery ahead, it may help with your financial recovery. These cases can quickly become complex, but fortunately, you don't have to deal with them alone.

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