Too Close to Stop?
by Henry Floyd |
posted 22 March 2017
How do you calculate a safe stopping distance? Read your Highway Code and you'll find a graph showing the ideal distance between you and the car in front depending on your speed. But in the crowded roads of today, driving at a safe distance can often be forgotten. And that’s not acknowledging that in the wet, the distance needs to be even longer.
You can work out the safe distance for yourself though, if you can remember the multipliers - at 20mph multiply by 2 to get the answer in feet, that is 40ft or roughly three car lengths. At 30mph multiply by 2.5, at 40mph by 3 and so on.
The faster you’re going of course, the bigger the distance required. So, at 70mph you're looking at 24 car lengths between you and the car in front - and that's on good, dry, straight road. However, even on a quieter motorway now-a-days you’ll often find a queue of vehicles in the outside lane trying to get passed slower traffic. Are they anywhere near the required safe distance apart? Hardly!
At times, you’ll find arrows painted on the road surface to encourage drivers to keep a safe distance apart, often two arrows apart. This can be helpful, but only if people take any notice of them.
It’s worth occasionally watching one of those motorway based reality shows on TV to see the aftermath of a car accident at speed. Even if you were to avoid death, usually life changing injuries will result. If more people reflected on the risk that they are taking by not keeping their distance, perhaps we’d see the end of the dangerous tailgater.