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Why Understanding Stopping Distances Is Still Important

We all know when to brake while out on the road, right, to come to a complete stop in time to avoid collisions? After all, you’ve likely been driving for a few years after passing your test and perhaps have never been unfortunate enough to be involved in a collision.

However, understanding and being able to work out stopping distances is still very important - even after you’ve been handed that pass certificate after taking your theory test.

Why are stopping distances still important?

1. Understanding stopping distances can make you a better driver - If you come to a stop in a calm and controlled manner, you’re less likely to be involved in a collision and you’ll also have an enjoyable driving experience. After all, no one really likes slamming on the brakes!

2. You’ll feel confident in hazardous driving conditions - Weather is perhaps the biggest factor that impacts stopping distances. In fact, if you drive in winter weather such as ice or snow, the distance before you come to a stop is ten times as long! Understanding stopping distances, therefore, can increase your confidence when it comes to navigating the road in these conditions and reduce your risk of collisions.

3. Your car will enjoy less wear and tear - If you’re coming to a stop in a calm and controlled way, then you won’t be causing unnecessary damage to your vehicle. Slamming the brakes on leads to increased damage to brake pads and discs.

4. You will recognise the issues that can impact stopping distances early - As well as the weather, there are a huge range of things that can impact how long it takes to come to a stop. Understanding these is important and can reduce your risk of a collision while out on the road. This means if you’re tired you’ll pull over and rest or if your car is weighed down with heavy things you’ll brake in plenty of time.

What else can affect stopping distances?

There are a number of factors to consider when out on the road and all of these can increase your overall stopping distance:

  • How tired you are
  • If there are any distractions in the car (children, music, sat nav)
  • If you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Condition of your tyres
  • Weight of the items in the car
  • The incline of the road
  • Condition of your brakes
  • Weather conditions
  • The speed you are travelling at

Test your stopping distance knowledge

Before you dig out that dusty theory test book, see just how much you know already about stopping distances with this quiz from telematics insurance company WiseDriving. The brand wants to highlight just how important understanding stopping distances is with this fun quiz and you may be surprised by just how little you remember from those days of revising for the theory test!

Alternatively, if you are studying for your theory test, this quiz is a great practice run when it comes to the main stopping distance questions you may come up against! Be sure to send it to your friends too, to test their knowledge.


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© Patrick Vernon 2019