Stopping distances

Stopping distances are something that every driver needs to know, with conditions on the road always changing stopping distances are something we need to consider every time we drive, not just on your driving lessons or test. When you are preparing to take your Driving Theory Test stopping distances can be hard to remember and are often the questions that students can find quite difficult. Top tip, read the questions carefully as you may be asked the thinking distance, braking distance, or the overall stopping distance, take your time and read the question at least twice before you answer.

What are the differences between thinking distance, braking distance, and stopping distance?

Thinking distance : is the time it takes for you to see a hazard and start to brake. The faster you are driving, the further you will travel during this time which affects your braking distance. Tiredness, distractions and inebriation can also affect thinking distance.

Braking distance : this is defined as the time that it takes for your car to stop once you have started to brake. The faster you are travelling, the longer it will take for you to come to a complete stop. In the Highway Code it outlines the stopping distances for a range of speeds. There are other factors, that are not in your control that can also affect braking distance such as the weather, and the condition of the road and your car. The weather can have a massive impact on driving conditions, on roads that are icy or wet it takes much longer to stop. In the wet it’s recommended to leave twice the normal stopping distance between you and the car in front, when it’s icy that can increase to up to ten times the normal stopping distance. You should always ensure that your car is maintained properly, getting brakes and tyres regularly checked, maintained, and where required replaced.

Stopping distance : is the combination of thinking and braking distances.

Typical Stopping Distances