The Need for Speed: Where to Drive Fast, Where Not, and Why
There’s a time and place for everything, including driving fast.
We’ll cover where you can go pedal to the metal and find out what kind of power lies under your hood, and we’ll also remind you where you should speed and the insurance ramifications of your choices.
When it comes to insurance, sports cars tend to be more expensive to insure because of the ability they have to drive fast. You’ll probably be glad to hear that there are fast cars with cheap insurance, but your insurance premiums will spike if you don’t restrain your need for speed.
Places Where You Can Drive Fast
There are several places you can drive fast legally. If you have the opportunity to do so safely, you may be surprised by how much fun you’ll have.
You Can Speed on Rural Interstates
No, you can’t go over the speed limit. But you can accelerate quickly and keep a steady speed if you don’t have heavy traffic. Metropolitan areas are rarely free of traffic, but if you have a chance to drive in a western state with a low population, chances are the speed limit is 80 mph, and the roads are free of congestion.
You Can Speed on a Race Track
Most race tracks have days where members or the public can race their cars on the track. You’ll have to pay a fee to use the track. Usually, the fee covers 20 laps, where you’ll be able to push your car to its limits and experience the thrill of speed.
The downside to this opportunity is that your standard car insurance will exclude damage that occurs on a race track. So, you’ll be driving faster than you ever have, but if you crash, you will lose your investment in your vehicle.
You Can Speed at Driving School
Driving schools for racing or learning expert maneuvers are an excellent place to learn how to drive fast safely. Many of these schools provide vehicles that are fabricated with devices to resist rolling. When you use a school-provided car, you won’t have to worry about ruining your own vehicle as you push the limits of speed.
Places Where You Can’t Drive Fast
Exceeding the speed limit is always a bad idea, but there are some locations where you need to use even more caution.
Drive Carefully in Residential Neighborhoods
Speeding through residential streets puts residents at risk. Kids live in these neighborhoods and may play in the street. Pets may enter the roadways. Homeowners may back out of their driveways. There are so many obstacles to watch out for if you’re driving in populated areas.
No amount of vigilance can make up for driving slowly enough to react to hazards, people, and pets.
Slow Down Where Road Conditions Are Poor
Sometimes driving the speed limit is too fast. If the roads are icy, you’ll need much more distance to stop. By going slowly, you can shorten that stopping distance and give yourself time to react to your surroundings.
One of the essential tips for driving on icy roads is to slow down.
Even wet roads are more dangerous than dry roads because the water lowers the friction between your tires and the road, which increases stopping distance and decreases control.
Avoid Excessive Speeds At Night
Your headlights illuminate far enough ahead on the road for you to stop if you’re driving slower than the time it takes you to stop before the furthest distance your headlights reach. Once you exceed that limit, it will be physically impossible for you to stop in time for obstacles on the road because, by the time you see the obstacle and brake, it will be too late.
You will not have a chance to react to hazards in the roadway safely. During the day, you can see much farther away than you can at night.
The brighter your headlights, the further you’ll be able to see, but even the best headlights won’t illuminate your path enough to see as far as you can during the day.
To have time to react to objects in the road, you need to drive slowly enough to be able to see them and have time to stop or maneuver around them safely.
Why You Should Drive at Safe Speeds
If you have a desire to drive fast, and you’ve weighed the risks of racing where it’s legal and decided you want to pursue it, you’ll probably enjoy yourself immensely. The thrill of speed is something that’s hard to explain, but once you’ve experienced it, you know.
Just remember that if you’re driving your personal vehicle on a racetrack, you won’t be operating illegally, but you won’t have insurance coverage for your own vehicle damage or loss.
If you think you’re ok to exceed the speed limit on public roadways, you’re wrong. There are several reasons why speeding should be avoided.
Speeding Could Get You a Ticket
When you drive on public roads, you can follow the rules or face penalties for breaking them. A speeding ticket will cost you money. Following the traffic laws is the best way to avoid getting a ticket.
Typically, the faster you’re going, the higher the fine. If you get several speeding tickets, you might even have your license suspended. If that happens, you’re not allowed to drive at all.
Your Insurance Premiums Will Be Impacted by Speeding
If you get one or two speeding tickets, you can expect your car insurance premiums to increase each month. After several tickets, your rates will probably skyrocket. People who speed are more likely to be involved in accidents.
Crashes cost car insurance companies money, and if you’re more likely to be in a crash, you’re placed in a high-risk category. To cover the insurance company’s risk, they will charge you higher premiums.
If your risk increases past a certain threshold, your insurance company will cancel your coverage, and you may have a difficult time finding anyone to offer you a policy.
You Could Hurt Someone by Speeding
The potential to hurt someone is the biggest reason why you should not speed outside of the few places where it’s legal. Speeding puts you at an increased risk of being involved in an accident. You could get seriously injured in a single-vehicle crash, but even worse, if your accident involves others, you could cause injuries to others as well.
Recovering from injuries is a long road and dealing with the guilt of hurting others is a heavy burden to bear.
Adrenaline and exhilaration aren’t worth the price of poor choices. Instead, make legal speeding opportunities an event to look forward to and plan for. You’ll enjoy the experience more knowing that you’re doing it safely and conscientiously.
Melanie Musson is a car insurance expert who writes and researches for AutoInsurance.org. She is passionate about helping people understand their insurance needs and find the most suitable coverage for the best price.