I’ve been driving for 15 years now. It’s been over 16 years since I passed my theory test. One thing which always stuck in my head was stopping distance. Until I began cramming for my theory test, I hadn’t considered that the distance you travel when braking varies based on the speed, road conditions or tyre quality.
Do You Know Your Car’s Emergency Stopping Distance?
I can still recall that when driving at 30mph, it takes you around 23 metres to stop. At 40mph, it takes 36 metres before your car comes to a complete halt. If the roads are wet (Which is pretty much every day in Manchester)…. It takes your car twice as long to stop as in dry conditions! Additionally, it takes up to TEN TIMES LONGER for your vehicle to stop in snowy or icy conditions!
When I saw that Kwik Fit had made a video to share this information, I wanted to share it….
What Else Affects Stopping Distance?
It’s important to leave the correct stopping distance based on those outlined in the above video. On top of that, you need to make sure your tyre’s treads are legal, and that your car has a valid MOT. If you book a Kwik Fit Mot, it’ll cost from £27, and they will check… Your car’s VIN number is visible, your car’s registration plate is legal, and that your car’s lights work. Additionally, they’ll check your car’s steering and suspension, wipers and washer bottle, the windscreen and horn. Kwik Fit will also check the seatbelts, seats, emissions, fuel system, body work and doors. Finally, they’ll check the mirrors, brakes, tyres and wheels.
Your brakes play a massive part in your car’s stopping distance, too. So if you notice it’s taking longer than usual to stop, definitely get them checked! Your brake pads may need replacing.
In 2009, I was driving home on what appeared to be a clear, dry road. It had a speed limit of 50mph, and I left sufficient stopping distance for that. When I hit a patch of black ice, I lost control of my car. However, thanks to leaving sufficient stopping distance, nobody hit me when I had to stop in the middle of the road. It was that moment that the importance of stopping distance really hit home for me. If I had been too close to the car in front, I’d have hit them. Similarly, if the car behind had been too close, they’d have hit me when I lost control.
It is important to check your tyres regularly between MOT’s. If your tyres are below the legal limit, you are more likely to skid or aquaplane on wet or icy roads. I remember this happening to us a few Summers ago. We were on our way home from the seaside, when it suddenly began hail stoning. It felt like I was driving on marbles, and I had no grip at all. The next day, I got our tyres checked and found out two were pretty much bald. This meant the car was basically sliding along the road, as the tyres were providing no grip.
I hope these Emergency Stopping Distance tips have been useful. Finally, why not check out more of my motoring blog posts?