The dangers of speed while driving

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - In the wake of several recent high-speed accidents in our community, WBTV looked at the difference between your perception of how fast a car is traveling and the reality of it.

WBTV's Tom Roussey teamed up Tuesday night with local police in a live demonstration.

The demonstration took place at the Zmax Raceway near Lowe's Motor Speedway in Concord.

In a closed and controlled environment, Roussey showed two similar vehicles that were traveling at radically different speeds, but appeared to be nearly the same speed from a distance.

During the demonstration, Roussey showed how easy it is for a motorist to misjudge the speed of another vehicle traveling at a fast speed.

At 70 miles per hour, the faster vehicle looked as if it was moving much slower -- until it was nearly at Roussey's location.

This key aspect simulated the location of motorists who had been hurt or killed in recent wrecks near Charlotte.

The message from experts on site was that motorists should always wait an extra three seconds to better judge just how fast an approaching vehicle is traveling before pulling out.

Another test showed how much longer it took for an SUV traveling 60 miles per hour to stop than a similar SUV going only 30 miles per hour. In that case, the difference was nearly 100 feet longer in stopping -- a significant distance when a car is pulling in front of another.

Click on each video link to show the various demonstrations. One video link shows a "Web Extra" camera view from inside the SUV that was traveling at a high rate of speed.