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Driver Stopping and Reaction Times

Reaction and stopping times – Knowing your car’s limitations

Stopping Distance Graph

The better you understand the factors you need to include into your braking time the better off you will be in preventing accidents and ensuring your safety on the road.

A typical driver reaction time is between 2.5 and 2.8 seconds. In this time the object that the driver intends to slow for must become visible, the driver must then see it, they must identify the hazard, decide on an action, begin the action and then complete it. All these tasks form part of the reaction time and decision sight plan, which are all key in preventing an accident.

It is important to remember that you also need to take the weight of your vehicle into consideration. The lighter your vehicle the quicker it will slow down with heavier vehicles taking longer. However, if your vehicle goes into a skid it will take longer to slow down, so proper braking is very important to ensure this doesn’t happen.

The speed that you are travelling at plays a huge part in the distance you need to brake to a halt. The faster that you are travelling, the exponentially greater the distance you will need to bring your car to a stop.

You can drastically improve your safety on the roads by taking into account all these factors. Speed, vehicle weight, driver reaction and road condition all play a part in how much distance you will need to slow your car.

The following table should give you a better indication of what distance you need to slow your particular vehicle when its doing a particular speed.

 

Required Stopping Distance – Metres. Decision distance plus Action distance

Speed km/h

Small Car

Medium Car

Large Car

Heavy Vehicle

60

60

66

77

116

70

78

86

101

154

80

99

109

129

197

90

121

135

159

246

100

146

163

193

300

110

174

193

230

359

120

203

227

271

424

130

235

263

314

495

140

269

301

361

570


Required Stopping Time – Metres. Decision Time plus Action Time

Speed km/h

Small Car

Medium Car

Large Car

Heavy Vehicle

60

5.73

6.44

7.76

12.37

70

6.50

7.32

8.87

14.24

80

7.27

8.21

9.97

16.11

90

8.03

9.09

11.07

17.98

100

8.80

9.97

12.18

19.86

110

9.56

10.86

13.28

21.73

120

10.33

11.74

14.38

23.60

130

11.09

12.62

15.49

25.47

140

11.86

13.51

16.59

27.34