Slowing down saves lives

© Sergey Valov

Why #SlowDown?

Every day we have good reasons to go somewhere important, whether we leave our homes for work, school or play. However, getting safely to where we are going is as important as getting there at all.

By slowing down, observing speed limits appropriate for the roads and not speeding, we make the roads safer for all. For children walking to school, for the elderly crossing the road, for workers driving to places of work and all road users. Speeding is a major risk factor. The more your speed, the higher the risk of a crash as well as the severity of crash consequences. Speeding also affects other road users such as pedestrians and cyclists. Slowing down is safe.


Avoid Collisions Less Damage Protect Others Resources

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Avoid Collisions

You have more chance of avoiding a collision when you #SlowDown. The lower your speed, the less distance is covered while you make decisions and take action to avoid a potential collision (reaction distance). Also, the slower you are going, the less time it takes for the vehicle to stop when you hit the brakes (braking distance).

Lower speeds decrease your risk of a crash for a number of reasons:

  • It is more likely that a driver or rider will keep control of the vehicle.
  • It is more likely that a driver or rider will anticipate oncoming hazards in good time.
  • The distance travelled in a given time – and so the distance travelled as a driver or rider reacts to an unsafe situation on the road ahead – is shorter for travel at a lower speed (figure 1.2).
  • The stopping distance for a vehicle, after a driver or rider reacts and brakes, will be shorter at a lower travel speed (figure 1.2). 


stopping distance

Figure 1.2: from Speed Management: a road safety manual for decision-makers and practitioners.






Lower Speed, Less Damage

The lower the speed, the less kinetic or movement energy the vehicle and you (the driver or passengers) are carrying. Therefore less energy is released when colliding into another vehicle or stationary object, such as a tree or wall. Part of the energy released will be absorbed by the objects involved in the crash and part will be absorbed by the human body, causing injuries. Our human body is vulnerable and there is only so much energy it can handle without being seriously damaged. The less energy, the less damage.


who pedestrian safety manual

Figure 1.4: from Pedestrian Safety: a road safety manual for decision-makers and practitioners.

© Amend

Protect Vulnerable Road Users

When you #SlowDown, other road users are better able to judge the speed of the vehicle, especially pedestrians attempting to cross the road. Also, the mass and vulnerability of the vehicles/road users who are involved in a collision plays a major role. In crashes between a lighter and a heavier vehicle the occupants of the lighter vehicle are generally worse off than the occupants of the heavier vehicle. This is especially the case for pedestrians, cyclists and moped riders (who are vulnerable road users) in crashes with much heavier motor vehicles.

A recent study on pedestrians and their chances on surviving car crashes, shows an adult pedestrian has approximately a 20% risk of dying if struck by a car at 60 km/h. A pedestrian's best chance of surviving a crash is when the impact speed is low (below 30 km/h). Another good reason to #SlowDown!


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Managing Speed

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Speed management: A road safety manual for decision-makers and practitioners

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Factsheets on speed


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