The paradox of driving speed: Two adverse effects on highway accident rate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Whereas speeding is known to be a substantial risk factor in driving, there is no unequivocal evidence that accident rate on limited-access motor highways is considerably affected by average speed or by speed limits meant to regulate it. It is suggested here that the seeming puzzle actually may have a straightforward explanation: accident-prone interactions (APIs) between cars occur when they pass each other - mostly moving in the same directions or in opposite ones. Such interactions are shown here to happen more frequently, the lower average speed is. To the extent that high speed limits contribute to increase in average speed, they serve to reduce the number of such interactions, thereby to moderate at least part of the negative effect of speed on the driver's ability to avoid an impending accident.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-367
Number of pages7
JournalAccident Analysis and Prevention
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2003


  • Accident rate
  • Average speed
  • Crash rate
  • Driving speed
  • Highway accidents
  • Relative speed
  • Speed limit
  • Speed variance
  • Speeding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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