Roman: How do you know the other car was going too fast if you didn’t see it?


“Did you see it before the collision?”


This exchange happens all the time at traffic collisions. In most cases, the same person did one of two things. They turned left in front of a car or pulled out from a driveway in front of a car. Either way they crashed into another driver, who was minding his or her own business while traveling down a road.

When this happens, the driver who is at fault tries to blame the other car because it was “going too fast.”

My next question always is, “How do you know the car was going fast if you didn’t see it?”

This question usually triggers a twitch in the driver’s face that causes them to squint and give me that deep-in-thought look. It’s almost like I have a hidden switch that I flicked with my finger to get them to do that because it happens every time I ask that question. Actually, there’s no switch. It just their confused look.

One confused driver once replied, “It felt fast.”

“It felt fast?”

“Yeah, it felt fast.”

I think the better way to describe the crash was that it felt hard, but who am I to point that out?

“The car was going fast” statement is alive and well in the traffic collision world.

It is said a few times a week without fail. In fact, it came up again on Wednesday night in a four-car crash involving a driver with a suspended license.

I guess when there are five points of impact, four cars and a vehicle in someone’s front yard, a person might want to deflect blame onto someone else by saying, “He was going fast.”

I have an idea.

How about following the f#$%ing rules and not drive? It would be easier for everyone out there on the roads.

Editor’s Note: John Roman is a traffic officer for an Orange County police agency who writes a blog, Badge 415 ( His posts focus on the human side of police work and safety tips. Roman, a cop for more thsn 20 years, has handled more than 5,000 accidents as a collision investigator. shares some of his columns.