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Your Guide to Safe Stopping Distances


Interior view of a man driving a car

Do you know what the average stopping distance is? It’s a common question when you’re preparing for your driving theory test, but chances are, you’ve forgotten it now. This leads to many people driving too close to the car in front. In fact, tailgating is a massive problem in the UK, being a factor in 1-in-8 casualties on the strategic road network. This led to the Space Invader campaign from Highways England, which showed that 9-out-of-10 drivers experienced or witnessed tailgating. 

The average stopping distance is affected by several things, including the weather, the condition of your car and how long it takes you to react. These variables combine into a distance that’s often a lot higher than you might think. It’s also important to have the right tyres on your car, as budget variants can drastically increase stopping distance. Luckily, we have tyres of all sizes to ensure that you remain safe on the road. 

Thinking VS Braking Distance

Two major factors come into play when you try to stop your car. Many people overlook the thinking distance, but it takes time to react to a hazard. That time is incredibly valuable. According to the Highway Code, the following applies:

Speed/Thinking Distance

20mph – 6 Metres

30mph – 9 Metres

40mph – 12 Metres

50mph – 15 Metres

60mph – 18 Metres

70mph – 21 Metres

The average thinking distance is also affected by other attributes, as it’s generally accepted that it gets worse as you get older. Other factors, such as drugs and driving conditions, affect this too. You then need to add this to the actual braking distance of the car, which the Highway Code lists as the following: 

Speed/Braking Distance

20mph – 6 Metres

30mph – 14 Metres

40mph – 24 Metres

50mph – 38 Metres

60mph – 55 Metres

70mph – 75 Metres

When you combine these distances, it’s clear that your car could still travel far, even if you react in time. That’s why it’s important to maintain a safe distance from the driver in front. However, it’s also important to have a functional car with tyres that match the season you’re in. That’s where we come in.

A car stopping at high speed

Weather Conditions

Various weather conditions affect the stopping distance of a vehicle, while the reaction time could also increase due to bad weather conditions. Generally, the following applies:

Weather Condition/Effect on Stopping Distance

Rain/Sleet – x2

Snow/Ice – x10

In order to mitigate the dramatic increase in distance, you should choose tyres that match the season that you’re in. Bridgestone provides several summer options for this purpose, including the Turanza T005, which has been given an A-rating for driving in the wet. If you’re looking for a winter option, the Blizzak could suit your car. It has extremely balanced handling, giving much-needed precision on ice, snow and slush. 

You could also go for an all-season option, such as the A005, which tackles all weather conditions with aplomb. It has qualified snow performance and superior wear life, while also providing excellent traction in wet conditions.

Car and Tyre Condition

While we’ve focused on the thinking and stopping distances, it’s also important to mention the overall condition of your car. If your car has a mechanical fault, it will have an obvious impact on your stopping distance. Your brake pads should be frequently monitored to ensure that they work effectively too!

Tyre quality is important as well. Budget tyres have an increased stopping distance compared to premium equivalents, and you need to ensure that you keep your tread depth well above the legal limit of 1.6mm. The pressure of your tyres contributes to stopping distance too, as underinflated tyres increase the distance. We can help with this, as we ensure that your tyres match the number plate that you provide and we never sell part-worn tyres. 

Choose ASDA Tyres

We work with accredited fitting centres across the UK to ensure that your new tyres are installed correctly. The fitting is also included in the overall price, which makes it easier when choosing your tyres. We also have all the top brands available too, so if you have a favourite, you’re likely to find it on our site. Your tyres won’t make you magically stop all of a sudden, but you’re sure to notice a difference with a set from ASDA Tyres.

  • Your Guide to Safe Stopping Distances
  • Your Guide to Safe Stopping Distances

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