April 06, 2020 By Chris Van Hoven

Does Speeding Save Time?

We’ve all been there. Late for a meeting, rushing to job interview, missing the start of a movie, a full bladder – all reasons we think are good enough to speed, cut cars off, and generally drive recklessly. Somewhere in the deepest recesses of our brains, we believe that these actions save us minutes of our precious time, but are the time savings worth the risk we put ourselves and others in? We delved into the math, because time is the one thing we have an abundance of right now.

One aspect to consider when tackling a topic like this is the concept of average speed. There are a lot of factors that affect speed when it comes form driving from point A to point B. Traffic jams, stop lights, toll booths, and pedestrian crossings all contribute to decreasing our average speed, making the actual number much lower than we think. You may think you’ve been achieving an average speed of 80 km/h travelling from Makati to Alabang on a relatively traffic-free Skyway, but chances are your actual average speed is closer to 40 km/h. If you don’t believe me, you can compute for your average speed yourself by dividing distance over time. Here’s another example. If it takes you 18 minutes to drive from Greenbelt 1 to say, Ayala Malls The 30th, which is an 8.1 kilometer drive according to Google Maps, then your average speed is 27 km/h. This is important to note for when we compute for time savings with the handy chart below.

For this exercise, we’re looking at distances that people usually travel on an automobile or motorcycle. 10 kilometers is more or less the total distance you would travel to get chores done around the metro, 25 kilometers represents a commute from one city to another, 100 kilometers for a nearby out-of-town trip, and 250 kilometers for a farther-than-usual out of town trip. The first thing that’s interesting to note here is how the time you save significantly diminishes on trips that already enforce a high speed limit. The second thing that’s important to point out is that even with our most unrealistic scenario of consistently cruising at 120 km/h for a straight 250 kilometers (something you’d only achieve travelling on a road as straight as a ruler from Manila to Naga for example), you would save yourself a mere 25 minutes as opposed to following a hypothetical speed limit of 100 km/h. So given our more realistic example earlier of a 25 kilometer commute from Muntinlupa to Makati that takes 35 minutes, factoring in toll booths and various slow downs at an average speed of 40 km/h, driving like a maniac that pushes your average speed up to 60 km/h saves you 12.5 minutes. Bear in mind that the time you lose due to stop lights will always be consistent, no matter how fast you’re travelling, which cuts your 12.5 minutes of savings down even further. Now you need to ask yourself what you could possibly do in those 6-12 minutes you’ve saved that justifies you endangering not just your own life, but the lives of others sharing the road with you. And if we’re talking about even shorter distances, well, the chart speaks for itself.

It’s certainly something to reflect on, and something you can easily compute for yourself one of these days. Overspeeding continues to be one of the leading causes of automotive accidents in the country, and the examples given above clearly show that from a logical point of view, the time you save from overspeeding is negligible at best. Now, if you feel like it’s ok to contribute to the problem because of the “thrill” you might get from speeding, or you feel like you’ve “outsmarted” someone else on the road, then that’s another problem entirely.

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