How Police Can Tell How Fast You Were Going Before An Accident Using Skid Marks

When police are called to an accident scene, they have several concerns in mind as they respond to the accident. A major concern will be to figure out which driver caused the accident (which will go a long way in determining whose insurance company will be liable to pay any claims resulting from the accident). One of the ways they determine responsibility is by figuring out how fast the cars involved in the accident were traveling at the time of the collision. Speed is a major factor in many of the multi-car accidents where injury and death occur. Here is how the police can use skid marks to figure out how fast your car was traveling at the moment of impact.

Road Measurements

The police will measure the total length of the skid marks. This includes the shadowy mark that develops just as the car starts to brake. The next thing the police will determine is the drag factor for the road surface. For example, the average drag factor for asphalt is 0.50 to 0.90. They will compare the drag factors to the length of the skid mark (factoring in such issues as the wetness of road and whether you headed uphill or downhill) to produce an estimate of the minimum speed you were traveling at the time of the accident.

Braking Efficiency

The police will also want to determine how well the braking system works on your car. For instance, do all your brakes (front and back) work at the same time when you apply pressure to the brake pedal, or are some of the brakes not working or working poorly? If all your brakes are working like they should, the police will determine you had all of of your braking efficiency available, but if one or two of the brakes are malfunctioning, this would lower your braking efficiency and it will take longer for you to stop. The police will make adjustments to your estimated speeds if they find that your brakes weren't working to capacity when the accident happened.

Determining how fast you were traveling when you got into an accident can have a significant impact on the amount of money your insurance company may have to pay out to settle accident claims on your behalf. This could affect your current policy (the insurance company can usually cancel it if they so desire), and your ability to get a new policy at a good rate. Conversely, the police could show you weren't speeding and didn't cause the accident. In this case, your insurance company shouldn't have to pay for anything and the other driver's insurance company will normally have to cover the cost of you car repairs and medical costs.

If you have questions about how driving speed will factor into your insurance claim, contact a local insurance company like AZBY Brokerage Inc.