Stopping Distances – Are they wrong?

Drivers have to consider many factors when braking.

You probably remember very little from your theory driving test. In fact, the moment you were told you passed, you most likely released all those small bits of information from your memory. You’ve since replaced them with real-world driving experience and facts.

For instance, it’s highly unlikely that you can recall all of the stopping distance calculations. As a refresher, here’s a great chart from Brake highlighting the information from the Department of Transport:

As you can see, you must take into account the time it takes to think and act as well as the time for your vehicle to actually slow down. Knowledge of stopping distances keeps you well back from the car in front (while also causing anxiety when we see a car in the rear-view a bit too close).

Yes, your driving experiences have made you faster in your reaction time. However, do you actually leave a space of 24 cars while doing the national speed limit on the M25? What about in the rain? If you can remember your theory revision, you’ll recall that stopping distances are actually doubled for wet roads. Now, who actually leaves 48 car lengths on the motorway in the rain?