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DEKRA crash test highlights the importance of respecting the speed limit
A Narrow Escape or a Serious Accident? Speed Makes All the Difference
Jul 10, 2019
Assistance systems, automation, connected driving: When people think about road safety in the future, many immediately think of electronic systems – and indeed, their potential is not to be underestimated. However, over the medium term at least, the behavior of drivers will continue to play a crucial role on our roads. Take speeding, for example: For too many drivers, 10 km/h above the limit is nothing to speak of; even 20 km/h above the limit is acceptable for some. But the disastrous consequences this kind of attitude can have were revealed in a crash test conducted for the current DEKRA Road Safety Report.
At 30 km/h, stopping distance including reaction distance around 13 meters
At 50 km/h, the driver has not even begun braking after that distance
DEKRA experts urge drivers to respect the speed limit
Two test runs performed at the DEKRA Technology Center at the Lausitzring race track in Klettwitz, Germany, highlighted the differences in stopping distances between starting speeds of 30 km/h and 50 km/h. With the help of differential GPS control, the robot driver installed in the vehicle drove along exactly the same section of track and, at exactly the same point in both cases, was issued with the command to apply the brakes fully after a one-second reaction time. A child’s stroller was placed in the way of the vehicle, symbolizing an unexpected traffic situation.
“The pictures are sobering. At a speed of 30 km/h, the vehicle comes to a stop right in front of the stroller after a stopping distance of around 13 meters,” says DEKRA accident researcher Markus Egelhaaf. “In the second test run, which was conducted at 50 km/h, the vehicle covers a much longer distance in that initial second the driver needs to react.” This means that the stroller is struck by the vehicle with undiminished speed and sent flying through the air before the driver can even begin to brake. “The baby in the stroller would be expected to suffer severe or even fatal injuries,” says Egelhaaf.
Even if the speed limit in this case is exceeded by “just” 10 km/h, the consequences would still be disastrous. “With the vehicle traveling at an initial speed of 40 km/h, the stroller used in our example would still be impacted at a residual speed of around 35 km/h – that, too, would prove disastrous for a baby in the stroller.” This is why DEKRA’s accident experts are urging drivers to respect the speed limit. “This could help to prevent many serious accidents.”
The annual DEKRA Road Safety Report was first published in 2008. This year’s report focuses on children under 15, and a special supplement especially for children underscores just how seriously DEKRA takes the safety of our youngest road users. The latest DEKRA Road Safety Report is available online at