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 |  Jul 01 2010, 2:37 PM

We all know the side effects of speeding – tickets, loss of points, perhaps even ending up in an accident. Now a new Canadian study shows that driving decreases life expectancy.

For all you drivers with heavy feet, the study presents some eye-opening facts. It determines that every hour you spend behind the wheel leads to a 20-minute loss of life expectancy (this is due to the risks of a fatal car crash). But here’s the good news – it also found that by slowing down just two miles per hour, the average driver would increase their life expectancy by three hours per year. Sure, it may not seem like much, but it all adds up in the end.

“When drivers speed to get to their destination faster, they actually lose more time because the savings from faster travel are offset by the increased prospect of a crash,” says Dr. Donald Redelmeier, a professor of medicine at the University of Toronto and the lead investigator in the study.

Make small changes to your driving habits and reap big rewards. By showing down just 2 mph, it would translate to approximately 3 million fewer property-damage crashes, one million fewer injurious crashes, and 9,000 fewer fatalities. In dollars, it could reduce crash-related property damage by about $10 million each day – not too shabby for adding a couple of minutes onto your drive time.

Researchers based their findings on a combination of computerized traffic modeling, national statistics covering driving on public roadways, and the laws of physics. Results were calculated by the computer model by taking into account average distances and time drivers in the United States spend traveling daily, the number of annual crashes categorized as fatal, injuries and property damage, and the expected time losses due to accidents.

[Source: Kicking Tires]