We all feel guilty at times about tailgating other vehicles regardless of our intentions of driving too fast or too close. Tailgating is happened to be one of the top peeves drivers have on the road.
Speed is considered the most crucial aspect of all road crashes and hazards that occur in the UK. The faster your vehicle travels, the more time it’ll take to stop which increases the risk of crashing. Speed and stopping do not increase equally, rather a minor increase in speed directly results in a remarkable stopping distance.
To become a safe driver, it’s crucial to understand the correct UK stopping distance whether you are preparing for your theory test or passed a while ago. It’s always worth revising.
Benefits of keeping a safe distance between you and the vehicle in front are:
- Getting a better view of the road in front.
- Letting you have time to stop your vehicle when the vehicle in front applies sudden breaks.
- Helping with fuel economy. (Constant breaking can damage your vehicle longevity)
What is stopping distance?
Simply put, stopping distance is the time taken to bring a moving vehicle (irrespective of speed) to a complete stop. Including:
- The time taken by you to react to the hazard i.e., Thinking Distance and
- The time taken by the breaks to stop the vehicle i.e., Breaking Distance.
How much stopping distance is ideal?
Here’s a formula to calculate your vehicle’s stopping distance:
(Stopping distance = thinking distance + braking distance)
While driving, leaving enough clear space in front of you to be able to react to the hazard depends upon various factors as well. Stopping distance varies upon various aspects like your driving speed and the weather you are driving in.
Precisely because the wetter the road & faster the speed, the longer it will take your vehicle to stop. Additionally, it takes time to process the situation while driving to hit the breakes.
It’s worth noting that splitting the stopping distance into thinking distance and braking distance, the average number is based on the vehicle’s Length and assuming the dry UK roads.
Stopping distances at different speeds
The average stopping distance of 20mph is about 3 car lengths. At 50mph, it is around 13 car lengths. If your speed is 70mph, the stopping distance will be more than 24 car lengths.
What affects overall stopping distances?
The stopping distance of your vehicle vastly depends on a considerable number of factors you must never forget. Some of them are included below.
- How fast you are travelling? If you’re travelling at high speed, you’ll have to leave more time for a break.
- How steep the road is. Is it going up or downhill?
- Is the weather good & dry, or wet or icy?
- Are the tyres properly inflated or worn out?
- Are the breakes working good, or is there less friction on the road?
- Driver ability; is the driver ill, tired, drunk, or distracted? (affects the thinking distance)
Remember that a shift of concentration against the road will significantly reduce the thinking speed.
Using your smartphone is obviously illegal while driving, but you should also avoid playing around with your vehicle’s audio systems, air-conditioning, or sat-navs very often. Not to mention, the distraction from the passengers in your fleet.
Considering the above facts, you can hopefully reduce the stopping distance significantly by just being attentive while driving.