Slow Down And Save

by PSD

by PSD

There are many factors that affect the overall ownership cost of driving. What brand and model vehicle you purchase, is it new or “previously loved”, is the vehicle properly maintained or not are just a few.

Slowing down can also be a huge factor in the overall expense of driving. There are a number of reasons that contribute to savings when driving the speed limit.

The most obvious is gas mileage. The Environmental Protection Agency states that driving 55 on the highway instead of 65 will improve your gas mileage by 15%. At current rates of $2.63/gallon that is like getting a $.40 cent rebate on every gallon!

Another consideration is safety. As your speed increases relative to other vehicles on the road your likelihood of accidents also increases. Plus keep in mind as common sense and the laws of physics demands; the severity of accidents also goes up with speed. Fact: Slowing down saves lives!

A third issue that one must contend with at times is the Police. Yes, I am speaking of driving infractions and I am speaking from personal (recent) experience. The cost of gas and insurance can be budgeted but the unexpected and outrageous cost of a speeding ticket is not something that one generally budgets for.

I was speeding. I had stayed late at work (unpaid time and against the rules in today’s corporate environment) and was rushing to get home for an engagement we had with the kids. Without thinking I had passed a slow moving car and exceeded the speed limit. The result: a $210.00 ticket!

Never before have I fought a ticket. My father brought me up with the belief and a person should always be responsible for their actions. And oh boy, am I paying for this one. The cost of the ticket is bad enough, the potential increase to my insurance is more frustrating, however the worst punishment so far has been coming home to face my wife. Facing my wife and hearing the dreaded “I told you so” is much more painful than any ticket. She was right and I was wrong!

As a teen I was a speed demon. I justly received my share of tickets and nearly lost my license. Finally good sense took over and I learned to drive reasonably. Almost 20 years past without a speeding ticket. Then in the last several years my habits had changed. The speed of my driving increased more and more. My wife and lectured and warned me about my driving. So much has she tried to help me that a few years ago in an effort to get the “need for speed” out of my system my wife bought me a 10 lap driving experience at the California Speedway. Unfortunately, after driving in a Nascar stock car at 170 mph, I found that no car could ever go fast enough on the surface streets.

No one wants to have or pay for speeding tickets. If only it was the speeding ticket that we had to pay for, it wouldn’t be so bad. For many of us another impact of speeding is rising insurance costs. It’s too soon to tell but the long term cost of this ticket will likely be much greater than the $210 ticket alone.

For a few, another ticket may have much greater consequence. Do you work for a company that provides transportation or periodic use of a vehicle? In my case, this ticket is my third within a three year period and will trigger a Human Resource review. The possible ramifications run from a nuisance to major. During the review I face the possibility of:

  1. Probation – My record will be reviewed more frequently, additional infractions will result in one of the following actions
  2. Suspension – My driving privilege of company vehicles will be suspended. This will force the purchase of another vehicle for the family. In today’s market even a clunker is going to cost $4,500!
  3. Termination – While hopefully a remote possibility, it is a possibility. In today’s economic climate some companies are trying to avoid the dreaded “layoff” but will jump at any chance to cull the headcount.

Please slow down, not only because it will save lives but because it may also cost you in ways you can’t imagine.

Since that time, I am happy to report I have been using the cruise control and watching my speed!

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