Speeding isn’t worth the time that’s saved | COMMENTARY

"I understand how stressful it can be when you’re running late for something, but here is my advice: It’s not worth it to speed or weave in and out of traffic."

By Ana Karen Perez-Guzman

Since I started working for The Reporter, I have had to make the trek from Kent to Covington each morning. I have seen at least one reckless driver every single day. I am a little nervous driving to work. The main reasons I have noticed why drivers are being so reckless is because they are in a hurry (speeding and weaving in and out of traffic) or distracted (texting, talking, fidgeting with their radios).

I understand how stressful it can be when you’re running late for something, but here is my advice. It’s not worth it to speed or weave in and out of traffic. You could get a ticket in either of those situations which: 1) would make you even more late; 2) you will have to pay for the said ticket with money you weren’t expecting to spend and 3) you could honestly injure or kill someone.

My co-worker Ray Still decided to do a little math on how much time he would save if he sped. He came to the conclusion it is not worth it. Ray drives from the Enumclaw office to the Bonney Lake Justice and Municipal building often. It is approximately 11 miles. He goes through a 35 mph zone, 55 mph zone, 45 mph zone and 40 mph zone, in that order.

On average, he is going 44 mph for those 11 miles (35 + 55 + 45 + 40 = 175 / 4 = 44), which means it should take about 25 minutes to get there if he doesn’t slow down or stop for any reason. If he increases his average speed to 50 mph, it will take him about 22 minutes instead of 25. And that’s only if he is not stopped or slowed.

To shave those three minutes off his drive, he somehow has to get his average speed up to 50 mph, so he needs to speed somewhere. He could travel 80 in the 55 mph zone, but that’s pretty unlikely with law-abiding drivers in front of him on highway. Chances are, he wouldn’t be able to go through the entire 55 mph zone doing 80.

But if he sped 6 miles over the speed limit in each area (41 + 61 + 51 + 46 = 199 / 4 = 49.75), he could bump up his average to 50 mph. But that would mean he would have to be speeding the entire way without anyone slowing him down, which again, would be difficult.

If Ray managed to somehow go 6 mph over the whole way, he would only be saving three minutes. His advice: You’re better off being late, picking up a dozen donuts and arriving at the office with a treat instead of a speeding ticket.

What bothers me more than speeding drivers is seeing someone on their cell phone. It is infuriating. Anytime someone tells me they are good at texting or talking and driving, it drives me bananas. Nobody, and I mean nobody, is good at that.

Did you know that if you take your eyes off the road for about 4.6 seconds (the average time it takes to send that “quick” text) while driving at 55 mph, that’s like driving the length of an entire football field blindfolded. So many things can happen in those 4.6 seconds. A car could cut you off or suddenly brake, something could jump out in front of you or a person could be crossing the street. It’s just not worth it to send that quick text. It’s not worth it to answer a phone call. Those things can wait a few minutes before you get to your destination, or pull over.

A few years ago when I was living in Bellingham, a teenager was distracted for “two to three seconds” and rear-ended a car who then struck a 2-year-old who was crossing the street with her mother.

I know how tempting it is to speed when you’re late. Or how tempting it is to send one quick text. But please… for my sake and others, please don’t.

Follow these simple rules and accidents could be prevented. Wear a seat belt, don’t speed, don’t text and drive, don’t drive sleepy (that’s just as bad as driving drunk… which I won’t even go into because I shouldn’t have to tell any of you to never ever drink and drive… ever), don’t tailgate anyone (that’s not nice and it won’t help the situation), be aware of your surroundings at all times, be courteous to other drivers and… just be safe.

Car accidents are expensive, terrifying, stressful and sad.

Ana Karen Perez-Guzman can be reached at aperez-guzman@maplevalleyreporter.com.