Intensive Driving

Intensive Driving

Updated 15/03/04

Stopping distances

L earning to drive starts with a CLICK

Stopping Distances Explained in metres

An average car length is estimated at 4 metres

Speed Thinking Distance Braking Distance Total Stopping Distance
20mph 6 6 12
30mph 9 14 23
40mph 12 24 36
50mph 15 38 53
60mph 18 55 73
70mph 21 75 96
Or try this "simple" formula!
x 2 ÷ 20 + x = Overall stopping distance in feet where x = speed Got that?
Trouble is whilst you're hunting for the calculator at 70mph you've probably hit the vehicle in front
Best advice?  Learn them, understand them and believe them!
Thinking Distance
This is the distance you'll travel just thinking about braking!
Braking Distance
This is how far you'll carry on going whilst you frantically push on the brake pedal!
Total Stopping Distance
This is how far you'll really go before you finally stop!
Worst of all is the sad belief that your own "lightning" reactions will solve the problem of
stopping in time. Sadly, you can't rewrite the laws of physics.
So, why do we have accidents when we all know we can stop in time?


Stopping distances are based upon an alert driver on a dry road with good brakes and tyres.
Stopping distances are based upon a normal mass produced family car.
Alert or distracted?
Adjusting the radio
Talking on a mobile phone
Looking at an accident
Eating or drinking
Talking to passengers
Lighting a cigarette
Looking for a parking space
Reading a map
Admiring the scenery
The list is endless
One final point. Impact speeds!
Do you realise that a head on collision with another vehicle equals an impact speed of both the combined speeds?
Excuse me?
Hit another vehicle travelling towards you at 30mph whilst you are travelling at 10mph equals an
impact speed of 40mph .
In other words; it's your speed PLUS their speed that creates the impact speed.

Try the stopping distance quizzes

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