How Much Faster Can You Get There By Speeding?

Bad drivers roam in tailgating packs that form as a result of impatience and stupidity.  –Dane Mutters

Today, I’ll be examining how much faster a person can get to their destination by going 10 or 20 miles per hour over the speed limit.  Notably, people who try to go much faster than the speed limit typically do so by weaving in and out of traffic, passing on the right/shoulder, tailgating (which doesn’t actually work, and is the most common and preventable cause of accidents), and other highly questionable maneuvers.  While much has been written on this topic (including in your state’s driver’s handbook), few people have taken the time to do the math for how much faster a person can actually arrive at a destination by speeding.  Below is such an analysis

For a 50 mile journey:

65miles/hr = 65miles/1hr
50miles / 65miles/1hr = .769hrs
.769hrs * 60minutes/1hr = 46 minutes at 65mph
So, it takes 46 minutes to travel 50 miles at 65mph.

75miles/hr = 75miles/1hr
50miles / 75miles/1hr = .666hrs
.666hrs * 60minutes/1hr = 40 minutes at 60mph
So, it takes 40 minutes to travel 50 miles at 75mph. Note that the extra 10mph only got you an extra 6 minutes, relative to traveling at 65mph

85miles/hr = 85miles/1hr
50miles / 85miles/1hr = .588hrs
.588hrs * 60minutes/1hr = 35 minutes at 85mph
So, it takes 35 minutes to travel 50 miles at 85mph. Note that the extra 10mph only got you an extra 5 minutes, relative to traveling at 75mph. As you increase speed, your gains in time saved will continue to decrease, relative to the previous 10mph speed.  In other words, the progression is not linear, and increased speed over a given distance will net diminishing returns.

So, to arrive at your destination 11 minutes sooner, on a 50 mile journey, you have to go 20mph faster than the speed limit. Not only is that dangerous, but it constitutes “reckless driving”, which is punishable by a $1,000 fine and 90 days in jail, in California, not including the speeding ticket you’ll also get.

Now, let’s look the data for how survivable an accident is at 65mph vs. 85mph. According to the department of transportation (see link, below), at 85mph, you have a nearly 100% chance of killing at least one person if you get into an accident. Additionally, your risk of causing an accident dramatically increases at that speed.

So, is it a smart gamble to risk your life and the lives of everyone around you to get to your destination 6-11 minutes faster? Are you qualified to make that decision for someone else who is on the road with you? No.

Slow down, drive safely, be patient, and wait for a good opportunity to pass. No matter how slowly the person in the leftmost lane is driving, they can’t “force” you to do something reckless; that’s your decision, and it isn’t a smart one to make.  The math and physics don’t lie.


She’s buying watermelons, and I’m trying not to think about crass pickup lines
–No matter how funny they would be.
So, I’m looking at the asparagus and thinking simultaneously about how I want to cook those ribeyes I bought, and whether asparagus is the side I want to go with them;
Meanwhile, the other aspects of my masculinity chime in, suggesting that I really should go over and talk to this girl.

She has brown, almost hazel eyes, and I like the quirky upturn at the corners of her mouth, which could indicate:
One, that she has a clever, wry sense of humor; or
Two, that she’s too stupid or crazy to know that it isn’t always appropriate to smile.
I try to talk myself out of approaching her, out of some sense of assumed pickiness;
But really, it’s because I’m just feeling insecure.

She has a pimple on the right side of her forehead that looks like it’s been there for a while.
Her hair is loose, like she doesn’t know how to use a hair-tie, but tried to, anyway.
Her basket is full of “organic” produce, which proves that she doesn’t actually know anything about what constitutes “organic” produce. She must be ignorant.
Maybe malnourishment is what’s causing her skin condition.

Then, she goes over to the Red Box, while I’m still stupidly pondering over which bunch of rubber-banded asparagus to buy, or whether to give up on it and buy broccoli, instead, or whether to get the asparagus and some lemon to go with it…that would be good with the Himalayan salt I bought from a different store…
And she’s looking at Arrival.

My heart leaps, because that might mean that she has some grasp of the sociological expositions displayed in the film, regarding innate xenophobia in a nation full of immigrants.
Perhaps she also likes science fiction that’s about philosophy, instead of special effects. Yes! I’ve met my bride-to-be!

Then, out of the corner of my lemon-filled field of view, I see the colors on the screen shift from silver to red and blue. Must be that new Marvel movie.
I like Marvel movies, because they involve some really neat special effects (forget what I said, above), and plenty of blowing stuff up.
And how cerebral they are…obviously.
OK, that could work.

Maybe I’m just horny.
Well, yeah, but it would be nice to meet someone with assets above the shoulders, too.
I guess her below-the-shoulders assets aren’t that bad.

So, I’ve picked out my asparagus and lemons, and I’m really sure I’m ready to talk to her, at which point I realize that I also need to get some red wine to compete the meal.
I mean, if I’m going to have a nice dinner with a pretty and intelligent woman (pretty despite the zit and bad hair day…I mean, I’m not that shallow, right?), I should at least have a nice bottle of wine to share with her.
Besides, she’s not done paying for her movie, and probably also wants to buy something other than organic produce and the chic flick she finally picked out.

So, I go over and pick out a $10 bottle of wine, because I’m classy like that. Yep, no Rex Goliath, this time, even though it’s actually pretty good.

I walk over to the checkout stand, and as it’s time to insert my awkward new chip-card, she’s entering the back of the line at the next stand over. She really is pretty, now that I’m not focusing on the overpriced vegetables.

I absent-mindedly tell the clerk to have a nice day, and then realize that it would be awkward to stand around for two minutes waiting for her to be done checking out.

Well, there’s always next time, and at least I have a nice dinner.


Dane Mutters, 2017