What affects the braking distance?

What affects the braking distance?

Accidents are collisions. Can be between two or more vehicles or it can affect only one vehicle as well. No accident would happen if everybody could stop before the collision or the accident itself happening. In this article we will have a look on the things those can affect the braking distances positively (reducing it so that the vehicle will stop in a shorter distance).

What is the braking distance?

Braking distance is the distance what the vehicle covers until it stops fully from the point where the driver pushed the brake pedal with full power. It is affected by many things so there are no equal brake distance even for the same car as it depends on the grip which the road surface, tyres temperature, tyre type, dust on the road, humidity, vehicle’s weight, etc.

Braking distanceAvoid skidding wheels

The most important is to have the driver skilled enough to be able to brake the vehicle as hard as possible but without blocking the wheels which cause skidding. Skid makes the stopping distance much longer. It is not very easy for an unskilled driver or for someone who has never tried it before under safe circumstances.

The shortest braking distance can be achieved with exactly the most power used for the braking but before the point of skidding.

ABS helps to get the wheels back to run again after a skidding but it reaches it by releasing the brakes for a moment. You can imagine that this also affects the stopping distance negatively as it will be longer when there are moments when the brakes are released.

Proper reaction time

The most important thing in the braking distance will be the driver in almost any case. Not just the driving skills will save lives but also the reaction time. You wouldn’t believe but a normal reaction time is around 1,5 – 2 seconds. A car going at 90 km/h passes 50 meters under 2 seconds which is really a lot. Have you ever measured 50 meters? It is really much when you think that you are the pedestrian who is at 100meters from a car coming with 90 km/h. The braking distance from the moment of pushing the brake at this speed is around 50 meters. With the 50 meters “reaction distance” it is already 100 meters.

You can do several things to have better reaction time. First of all do not drink alcohol or take drugs or pills which may affect your reaction time. Always keep your visual control on the road. The 1,5-2 seconds reaction time is without having a phone in your hand for example, and reading a text message from your friend. Imagine how much the car will go if your reaction time is 4 seconds because of reading an article like this during driving.

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Clear window, good sight

A dirty car is not a huge problem – considering that you are not going to a date with your new girlfriend. But having dirty windows can mean that you will not see the danger in time in front of you.

Keeping your windows clean does not mean using the wipers daily. Wipers do not cover the whole front windshield so there will be parts, mostly the edges which are essential to see the danger coming in front of you in time. Imagine a pedestrian stepping down to the road and you cannot see him/her coming due to the dirty windshield.

Keeping the windshield clean is more important when you drive at night. The dirt will be amplified by the on-coming headlight beams. It is very important to highlight that dirt will stuck onto the windshield not just from outside but also from the interior. Be sure that the inside of the windows are also kept clean. Seeing the danger in time is essential to shorten the braking distance. If you drive a bike you have to take care of the condition of your helmet’s plexi shield.

Keep the vehicle in good shapewhat affects braking distance

This part should not be written. Of course you have to take care of your car. Be sure that the tyres are in proper condition and they are not too old. The grip on the road is the best with proper tyres used for the weather and seasonal conditions.

The brakes are responsible to stop the vehicle so it is a must to be in proper shape as well. Change the brake discs and brake pads when it is needed. Also the brake fluid is essential to be changed in periods so that it can deliver the braking power from the driver to the brakes.

Maybe better to change direction?

There is no thumb rule for this as the situation will tell you what to do but in some cases it can be better to release the brakes and turn the vehicle to avoid the collision. This is of course true for situations only where the danger is closer than the car could stop. Before turning the steering wheel to avoid an accident it is a must to have a clear idea about the part of the road you are willing to turn your car to. It is not a clever idea to avoid collision with almost anything and turning the car into a group of kids. Be sure that you chose the better option.

You might say that this is not something you can choose but it is not true. You can train yourself to these situations. When driving, sometimes remember yourself to do so and out of a sudden make a decision what would you do if somebody would step down to the road in front of your vehicle right now. Do not push the brake or turn the car of course, just make a theory of what you could do now in a situation like that.

In case you would like to know more about the braking distance and what lies beneath, what is the physics behind, you can read the official Wikipedia article about it.