Stopping distances are made up by the distance you travel whilst noticing and reacting to hazards and the time a vehicle takes to come to a stop. These are referred to as ‘thinking distance’ and ‘braking distance’.

Thinking distance should largely remain the same depending on the speed you are travelling, but does also depend on individual attention and can be affected by distractions such as talking on the phone, singing along to loud music, speaking with passengers and feeling tired or stressed.

Braking distance, however, can be affected by many things outside of your control, including different weather conditions, the weight of the vehicle you are travelling in, as well as the tread on the tyres.

The condition of the road should always be considered when thinking about the safest stopping distance to apply. It goes without saying that wintry conditions such as ice, snow or heavy rain can have a huge impact on your braking distance, therefore greatly increasing your stopping distance.

Speed limits on roads are a good indicator of the condition of the road and the amount of distance you should leave between you and the car in front. However, speed limits are for ideal driving conditions, so by introducing different factors such as rain, ice and snow for example, you should alter your speed accordingly. Also, speed limits are exactly that, limits. They should not be treated as targets and you should never drive over the speed stated.

Typical stopping distances

Below are the typical stopping difference on roads in a good condition and the reaction times of a driver with good concentration and where alertness and is not impaired in any way.

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Top tips to avoid road traffic accidents

You can avoid road traffic accidents by following these simple tips whilst driving:

  • SLOW DOWN! Wet roads, bad weather conditions and darker days can all affect your stopping distance, as well as your ability to react to situations. Slowing down will help you to combat this.
  • Leave a safe distance between you and the car in front. If there is a lorry or van in front of you that impedes your vision, pull back further so that you have an improved line of vision.
  • Make sure your car is well maintained and ready for winter. Top up anti-freeze, oil and windscreen washer and check your tyre tread. Keep warm clothing in your car just in case you break down or become stranded in bad weather.
  • Allow extra time for your journey. Inevitably journey times will be increased by slowing down for the conditions and possible traffic, so ensure you plan this into your journey time to avoid the temptation to rush.
  • Check weather forecasts and travel routes to ensure it is safe to travel and your planned route isn’t blocked.

Freeclaim Solicitors are specialist road traffic accident compensation solicitors who can help you to claim compensation after an accident. We can help with car accidents, accidents on public transport or in a taxi, cycling accidents, pedestrian accidents, and also where you are a passenger in a car being driven by a family member or friend.

Call our 24-hour accident helpline today to start your claim on 0800 612 7340.