One of the main reasons accidents occur is that drivers underestimate how long it takes to stop their vehicle. People who follow too closely are the ones who know the least about braking time. Hopefully, this article will help all drivers to drive more safely.
Reaction times and safe driving: Seconds matter
It takes an average of one-half to three-quarters of a second for you to perceive the need to hit your brakes, plus an additional three-quarters of a second to get your foot to the brake pedal from the gas pedal. This means that it takes you up to a full one-and-a-half seconds from the time you perceive the need to apply your brakes before starting to stop. This is only an average, as everyone’s reaction times are different.
Examine the chart below to see the distances covered at different speeds before a car can come to a stop on dry pavement. It is based on the distance traveled for just one second of perception and reaction time. Notice how different speeds affect your ability to stop your car. You can see that doubling your speed triples the distance traveled before stopping.
Defensive driving tips for braking in time
There are three things you can do to be able to safely stop in time before causing an accident.
- Slow down – As you can see in the chart above, the slower you drive, the shorter your stopping distance.
- Look at the traffic ahead of you – By keeping an eye on the road far ahead of you, you will be able to see if traffic has stopped ahead.
- Brake early – By moving your foot from the gas pedal to the brake pedal at the first sign of the need to slow down, you decrease your reaction time. It also gives the drivers behind you an early warning sign for them to slow down as well.
Know that seconds count in avoiding an accident. A classic 1980s study found that 90% of all accidents could have been prevented, if the driver had started to apply his or her brakes just one second earlier.
I ask that you please share this article for others to read and please post any comments you may have on the subject. Thank you and please stay safe out there!
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