Sometimes some things need to be slowed down at the right place and at the right time, and making a vehicle brake is no exception. Varying weather conditions, visibility and speed will determine suitable and safe braking distances that drivers must adhere to so to prevent a road traffic accident. Tailgating (or driving too close to the motorist in front), is not a good foundation to build a friendship upon, and can have catastrophic consequences. For example, travelling at 40mph as opposed to 30mph will require an extra 3 cars worth of length to come to a safe stop. The formula to follow is as follows:
Speed + Speed/2 = Number X 2 (which considers thinking and braking distances)
The Thinking Distance is the distance covered between detecting a hazard and applying the car’s brakes. The Braking Distance is the next stage to the slowing process, and is the amount of road covered between putting pressure on the brake pedal and the car slowing to a stop. Lastly, the stopping distance, is the combination of the Thinking and Braking distances.
In all round favourable weather conditions with a dry road’s surface, the stopping distances are as follows:
However, with February being the last month of winter and still being very chilly, icy and wet road conditions will increase the braking distances by at least ten times for ice and two times for wet surfaces.
It is important to be aware that these measurements are only an approximate, and anything lower than this can be regarded as a danger to safety. As simple as cutting back on the throttle by 1mph can reduce the risk of being involved in an accident by 5%.
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