Braking/Stopping distances Lessons Note

How quickly can you come to a stop?

Driving too fast can make it difficult to stop in time for a hazard on or near the road

The total stopping distance = reaction distance + braking distance.

Think of reaction distance as the distance your vehicle has travelled while you react. At 100 km/h, you travel roughly 40m during the 1.5 seconds that it takes you to react.

Braking distance is the distance that it takes your vehicle to come to a full stop starting from when you start applying the brake. At 100 km/h, you need roughly 50m to stop in good conditions.

Keep a speed that enables you to stop in time for a hazard on the road ahead, e.g. wildlife

Doubling the speed will increase reaction distance by 2 and braking distance by 4. Speed makes a huge difference in your ability to stop in time and a significant difference to your chance of being involved in a crash.

  • At 50 km/h, you need around 34m to come to a complete stop (21m to react and 12.5m to brake) in good conditions.
  • At 100 km/h, you need around 92m to come to a complete stop (42m to react and 50m to brake) in good conditions.

Wet and slippery conditions also add a significant stop

Stopping distance is affected by:

  • Reaction time
  • Tyre condition
  • Road conditions
  • Weather conditions
  • Hazard perception skills
  • Vehicle’s condition and braking capacity

Two-stage braking

Two-stage braking will improve effectiveness, reduce the chance of skidding and provide far better control to the driver than hard braking. Hard braking can lead to a loss of control and cause skidding (particularly in poor conditions).

  1. Set up: Put light pressure on the brake pedal and pause
  2. Squeeze: Gradually apply the needed braking pressure
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