When we sit behind the wheel of a vehicle, there are many factors that we must consider for road safety: the speed limit of the road, the conditions of the road, the flow of traffic, the presence of pedestrians, the weather conditions, the vertical and horizontal signage... And we must not neglect the safety distance from the vehicle traveling in front of us.
A very important section within the highway code and a common question in exams to obtain a driving license is the one that appeals to the terms of stopping distance, reaction distance and braking distance. In addition to knowing what each one means and how they differ, we have to pay close attention to the different factors that influence each one of them and take them into account to know how far we should position ourselves from the car in front of us to avoid a collision. in the event of abrupt emergency braking.
According to the General Directorate of Traffic in its profile on the social network From the moment the driver's eyes detect an obstacle or problem, the brain takes an average of 0.75 seconds to give the order to press the brake pedal. Of course, this estimate varies depending on conditions such as age, the person's concentration, whether they are driving under the influence of narcotic substances or fatigue. We must notice that during this period of time, the vehicle continues to move forward.
For its part, the braking distance is the distance the car travels from when you step on the brake until it comes to a complete stop. In this case, factors such as the speed at which we travel, the condition of the vehicle – especially the tires, brakes and shock absorbers – come into play, as well as the weather conditions and the state of the road. For example, the braking distance is longer if the tires are very worn or if the road is wet, as there is worse grip. Additionally, the higher the speed, the longer the braking distance will be.
Consequently, the stopping distance is the sum of both. And to calculate it we have to analyze all the previously mentioned conditions: speed, weather conditions, the state of the vehicle and the road and our own concentration behind the wheel. Above all, the DGT insists that the stopping distance increases the higher the speed at which we travel. Therefore, in addition to respecting the relevant safety distance from the vehicle in front of us and increasing it on roads where we drive faster such as the highway, it is essential that we drive in compliance with the speed limits.