The Relationship Between Speed & Braking Distance

Written by donna eigen
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The Relationship Between Speed & Braking Distance
It takes longer to stop a speeding car. (woman driving small pink coupe car fast speed image by alma_sacra from

Inexperienced drivers take a lot for granted when they get behind the wheel of a car. They assume everything will work as expected and they will always maintain control of the vehicle. Many factors can affect stopping times.

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Factors Affecting Braking

Drivers must consider several factors besides speed when determining how long it will take to stop a car. These include road conditions, type of vehicle, tires, driver perception/reaction times and anti-lock versus conventional brakes.

Stopping Distance

The guideline for the length of time required to decelerate a car or light truck while driving on dry pavement and still maintain control of the vehicle is about 15 feet per second. A driver going 60 miles per hour can stop a vehicle in 6.87 seconds.

Know Your Limits

The government considers a crash at 30 to 35mph severe in safety tests. The Oregon State Police recommends a following distance of two seconds to allow for the average reaction time of 0.5 to 2 seconds. Allow time to react to an emergency, especially when roads are wet or slippery, and work on braking skills.

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