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Reducing Speed Increases A Drivers Total Stopping Distance.

Traveling at a fast speed reduces the duration it takes to recognize a situation or press the brakes as a response and decreases the rate of your car. The three parts, perception of the problem, reaction time, and stopping distance, constitute the complete stopping distance for your vehicle. Consider that you need only a moment to spot the danger before moving your foot toward your brake. The faster you go, the greater distance you’ll travel in one second.

The factors that affect the stopping distance

The reaction speed of the driver determines the thought distance. The way we react is strongly affected by the state of mind. Therefore, driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs has a significantly slower reaction time. This will also raise the distance of thinking. Fatigue and tiredness also impact reactions. An exhausted driver reacts more slowly than an alert driver.


The chart above illustrates this. Below, the distance of braking increases concerning velocity. This can be explained through the relation between kinetic energy and momentum. The higher the speed, the more kinetic energy that brakes can transmit.


The weight of the car is likewise related to its kinetic energy;

Kinetic Energy (Joules) = 1/2 x mass times velocity2

The heavier the car, the more kinetic energy; therefore, a larger vehicle will likely require a longer stopping distance.

Road Surface

Friction between car tires and road surfaces stops it from skidding or sliding. In the case of a slick or wet road, the contact between the tires and the road surface is significantly reduced. If the driver applies a strong brake, the vehicle is likely to skid, so the driver must apply less force to the brakes, thus increasing the braking distance.

Tyre Condition

Tires have grooves to channel water out of wet roads to ensure contact between the tire and the road. If tires get worn, the friction between highways and the tires decreases, increasing brake distance.

Brake Condition

The brakes that are worn out will take more time to transfer the force of the car, increasing the distance to stop.

What is the Total Stopping Distance?

The Total Stopping Distance (TSD) is the sum of the perception, reaction, and brake distance. When a driver senses the requirement to slow down or stop for a brief period has passed. It takes time to react, and reaching the right braking angle is called the reaction distance. The time required after that to get an entire stopping point is called the brake distance.

What Impacts Total Stopping Distance?

  • Inadequate scanning methods
  • Insufficient knowledge about high-risk zones
  • A limited amount of visibility
  • Driving distracted
  • Poor traction
  • Bra pads’ condition
  • What type of braking system do you have?
  • Proper foot placement
  • Condition of the driver (impaired coordination, leg or foot injury)

Speed is the most crucial element in the total Stopping Distance, but three essential components also play significant roles in the unlimited Stopping Distance.


If you travel at 60 mph, you’ll cover 88 miles before you apply the brakes! If driving at 30mph, you’d travel only 44 feet before using the brakes. This is the concept known as the driver’s reaction distance. When you stop the car, it is a different story. If you’re traveling at 20 miles per hour on an excellent road, it will need about 20 feet of your vehicle to come to an end. If you raise the speed, figures increase drastically. One might think that doubling the rate will increase distance. However, it could quadruple the time it takes to stop your vehicle! If you could travel at 40mph, you would need approximately 76 feet to bring your car to a halt.

Why This Matters

Understanding that speed has the potential to drastically alter every element that affects a car’s stopping distance is crucial. The time to stop is longer while traveling at a higher speed. This is why you must be alert to your surroundings and ensure plenty of room around your vehicle. Drivers who know this are more in their ability to plan. This data is based on safe driving conditions, which implies that larger vehicles and weather that isn’t ideal, like icy or wet conditions, could significantly increase the length of braking. That’s why increasing or doubling the distance you follow in less-than-ideal circumstances is crucial.

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