Sunday 17 November 2019

It takes much longer to stop than you may think: report

Cars braking
Cars braking
Eddie Cunningham

Eddie Cunningham

It takes a lot longer to stop your car than you might think or have been led to believe, according to new research.

While technology has greatly assisted sudden braking, the problem is down to how long it takes you to think and react when something arises. New research undertaken by the UK's Transport Research Laboratory, for the road safety charity Brake, concludes that thinking/reaction time is 1.5 seconds. 

That happens to be more than double the 0.67seconds officially used in driver-learning data and UK Highway Code. The difference is so pronounced that there are now calls for the distances to be officially recognised by changing data in the Highway Code.

In the real world, the new figures suggest that the average total stopping distance for thinking and braking is an extra 2.75 car lengths (11 metres) at 48kmh (30mph).  That translates into an extra 3.75 car lengths (15 metres) at 64kmh (40mph) compared with the distances used in the Code.  Car lengths are taken to be an average of 4m. Jason Wakeford, of Brake, says the figures taught to new drivers are "woefully short".

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