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Stopping Distance Explained

You will be mistaken to think that the breaking distance is the same as the overall stopping distance!
Questions in the real test can seam tricky unless read carefully...

What is thinking distance?

Thinking distance is the distance that the car travels after the driver has seen the danger and before the brakes are applied.

Some peoples reactions are faster than others, but the average distance it takes before the driver realises the danger ahead is 20 feet, when travelling at 20 mph.

What is braking distance?

The distance that the car travels whilst braking. With the brakes applied the car slows down, and the average car will travel 20 feet before coming to a complete stop, when travelling at 20 mph.

The Overall Stopping Distance is a combination of the 2 above.

When trying to visualise a distance it is useful to remember that the length of an average car is approximately 15ft, therefore, 75ft would be about 5 car lengths away.

SPEED

THINKING DISTANCE

BRAKING DISTANCE

OVERALL STOPPING DISTANCE

20 mph

20 ft. (6 m)

20 ft. (6 m)

40 ft. (12 m)

30 mph

30 ft. (9 m)

45 ft. (14 m)

75 ft. (23 m)

40 mph

40 ft. (12 m)

80 ft. (24 m)

120 ft. (36 m)

50 mph

50 ft. (15 m)

125ft. (38 m)

175 ft. (53 m)

60 mph

60 ft. (18 m)

180 ft. (55 m)

240 ft. (73 m)

70 mph

70 ft. (21 m)

245 ft. (75 m)

315 ft. (96 m)


Please note: these facts and figures are for a driver who is alert and well rested, in good health and not impaired by alcohol or medication.

Weather and road conditions, as well as type of vehicle and weight of load being carried can also affect these stopping distances.

 


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