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Driving Theory Stopping Distances

Stopping distances refer to the distance that you car is going to travel from the time that you decide that you need to press the brake through the time that the vehicle physically stops moving.

Now there are two things that clearly influence what the stopping distance is going to be. Those two elements are your reaction time, and secondly the speed at which you are moving, which is quantified by something called the braking distance.

As you would expect, the stopping distance is increased the faster you are travelling, because there is more speed to reduce and also the further you travel during the time that it takes you to react.

Thinking in metres travelled versus a speed in miles per hour (mph) a simple table can be created that tells you what the stopping distances are for a given speed.

Stopping distances are important because you need to ensure that you drive at a speed that will allow you to stop well within the distance you can see to be clear and leave enough space in front of you to allow you to stop safely if inecessary.

This table shows you the stopping distances for speeds from 20mph up to 70mph.

Speed Overall stopping distance
20 mph 12 metres
30 mph 23 metres
40 mph 36 metres
50 mph 53 metres
60 mph 73 metres
70 mph 96 metres
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You are waiting to turn right at the end of a road. Your view is obstructed by parked vehicles. What should you do? A) Stop and then move forward slowly and carefully for a proper view B) Move quickly to where you can see so you only block traffic from one direction C) Wait for a pedestrian to let you know when it is safe for you to emerge D) Turn your vehicle around immediately and find another junction to use

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