One of the most miscommunicated topics when it comes to driving safely is driving stopping distances. Some people fail to understand what the correct distance should be between you and the car in front, while others never account for differences in road conditions – or even speed! We’re here to give you accurate information regarding stopping distances, but if you think you already know the details then go and test yourself on this quiz. This quiz is the perfect way to refresh your memory, prepare for a pending driving theory test or just for bragging rights among your friends. Or maybe you want to do some revision and then take the test? Here is the key information on driving stopping distances so you can get a head start before acing the test!
Why Stopping Differences Are Important?
It goes without saying that driving safely will protect the safety of yourself and those motorists around you. However, there are other reasons to drive safely. If you add a black box to your car and show you never drive to close to other cars with harsh braking, you can save money on insurance. It also means you save money on fuel which is good for the planet!
So, What Is the Stopping Distance?
There is no set number to understanding the distance it will take your vehicle to come to a halt. The distance it will take is dependent on conditions and can be worked out by adding together thinking time and braking distance. Thinking distance is worked out at one foot per every mph you are travelling. For example, if you travel at 60mph your thinking distance to hit the brakes is 60 feet. This can be impaired by alcohol, drugs or medication and you should never drive when you are not legally able to. To work out your braking distance, you need to multiply your thinking time by your speed. The calculation starts at two for 20mph and then increases by 0.5 for every 10 mph. For example, the person traveling at 60mph has a 60ft thinking time then the calculation would be: 60ft (thinking time) x 4 (braking time) = 240ft
Using Car Lengths to Help
The problem with using feet as a measurement to understand safe stopping distances is that it is hard for drivers to empirically work out the number of feet between them and the car in front. This is why people tend to use car lengths as an easier way of measuring. The average car is 15-feet long. Using our previous example, at 60mph, the car should be 16 average car lengths between each other.
Considering the Conditions
However, all of the above information is only accurate if you are driving in dry conditions. The weather and surface of the road can significantly affect visibility and stopping time. When the weather is wet, you can expect to double the previous calculations. If the road surface is icy, your stopping distance can be increased by around ten times!
The weather and road conditions are not the only thing you need to bear in mind when it comes to stopping distances. Here are some other things to consider that may impede your thinking time or your braking time: Tyre conditions, In-car distractions, Condition of brake pads, Incline or decline of the road, Car weight, Tiredness. Now you really are prepared to take the test above. Go on – it may just save a life!