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How Much Do You Know About Braking Distance?

How Much Do You Know About Braking Distance?

When we talk about braking distance, what do we mean by the term? Common sense suggests that it’s the time it takes for your car to come to a stop. And of course, that’s true – but it’s only half the equation. As well as braking time there’s ‘thinking time’; the time it takes for you to acknowledge a hazard and respond. Together, they equate to ‘stopping time’:


Once you adjust for the extra time, it makes sense to leave a bit more space between you and the car ahead, which spells safer driving. So is that it? No it’s not. The CVS team has been compiling a list in response to the question: How much do you know about braking distances? We’ve come up with 4 things that can impact the length of stopping distance required.

1. Weather

We’ve all had quite a bit of practice driving in the rain this summer! It’s worth remembering, as we approach autumn and winter, that heavy rain (especially if mixed with mud on the road) can double your braking distance. This may be compounded by poor visibility, which adds to the thinking time involved. Snow and ice has even more of an impact; it can multiply your normal braking distance by 10 and there’s the danger of skidding to take into account.

2. Condition of Tyres

The depth of your tyre treads determines your vehicle’s grip of the road. If your tyres are worn, and the treads are below 1.6mm, your braking distance will be longer. The pressure of your tyres is also an important factor. If your tyres’ pressure is lower than the manufacturer’s recommendations, even by as little as one bar, it can lengthen your braking distance by five metres.

3. Worn Brake Pads

If your brake pads are worn, you’ll know about it. Your vehicle has a ‘wear indicator’ which produces a ‘screeching’ when the pad wears away. This warns you that your braking operations are compromised, as it will take you longer to slow down and come to a stop than normal. Once you hear the scary screech, you should get your brake pads replaced as soon as possible.

4. Speed

The speed at which you’re travelling will affect the time it takes you to bring to car to a total stop. The Highway Code provides indicative speeds and distances, but this isn’t an exact science. A car going at 70mph with tyres that are slightly worn and a driver that’s a bit distracted will take more than the 75 metres indicated in the guide to complete the braking manoeuvre.

About Country Vehicles in Shefford

We’re an established, independent garage providing local garage services for Shefford and the South Bedfordshire region. We’re a friendly team offering vehicle servicing, MOTs, repairs, diagnostics and tyre maintenance, sales and fitting. If you need new brake pads fitted, or you’re concerned about the state of your tyres, just pop in and we’ll get it sorted for you.

Would you like to talk to one of the CVS team about vehicle servicing, or tyre maintenance? Call us today on 01234 381555, or you can contact us online.