Moving quickly and rapidly through our environment can be an exciting and invigorating experience, or a terrifying and overwhelming sensation. Why do some people seek speed despite the inherent risks?
Scientific research has shown that driving at speed presents an enormous challenge, and is stressful from both a physical and mental perspective. Modern racing cars are capable of accelerating from 0 to 100mph in two seconds, and the brain simply hasn’t evolved to deal with this degree of sensory information or the associated physical forces. However, speeding is a behavior and drivers regularly choose to act on it.
Many drivers prefer to drive faster than justified despite the risks sometimes for simple reasons like driver was in a hurry, enjoys driving in the fast lane or bored. Motives for such behavior include rational, emotions, unawareness of the speed limit and the situation. Factors related to human perception skills, limitations, individual vs. group, road environment and characteristics of the vehicle also play a determining factor.
Broken down here are some of the major components behind the psyche of driving fast:
People generally prefer to drive faster than recommended
Drivers, who prefer higher speeds, also consider higher speeds to be safe. Apparently, dangerous driving is not related to speed in the mind of most of these drivers.
Not all drivers speeding habits are cookie cutter
Society tends to break driving speeds into the following categories but it isn’t always that clear: young drivers prefer to drive faster than elderly drivers; male tend to drivers prefer to drive faster than female drivers and drivers driving for professional purposes prefer to drive faster than drivers driving for private purposes.
Perceptual skills: underestimation of driving speed
All motor vehicles have a speedometer to check the driving speed objectively. Nevertheless many drivers seem to rely as well on their subjective perception or ‘feeling.’ However human perception of speed is not very reliable.
Speed choice and the road/vehicle characteristics
Either intentionally or unintentionally an imbalance between speed limit and the road characteristics may cause drivers to exceed the speed limit. For example, when drivers are found with unobstructed stretch of highway with no obstacles they tend to speed. Also cars features such as engine power and comfort tend to distort the perception of speed.