What Impacts Total Stopping Distance?

A vast majority of the information you gather while driving is received through your vision, such as the cars around you, traffic signals, street signs, road construction, pedestrians and much more. While your sense of sight is crucial, it’s also important to rely on your driver training. Do you know how to come to a complete stop safely and swiftly to avoid injury? Do you recall what contributes to Total Stopping Distance?

What is Total Stopping Distance?

Total Stopping Distance is the sum of the perception distance, reaction distance and  braking distance. Once a driver perceives a need to slow or stop, a small amount of time passes. The time it takes to react and come into the correct braking position is the reaction distance. The distance thereafter required to come to a complete stop is the braking distance.

What Impacts Total Stopping Distance?

Speed is the greatest factor in Total Stopping Distance, but three other key components play large factors in Total Stopping Distance.

Perception Distance:

Perception is defined as “The ability to see, hear, or become aware of something through the senses.” Perception is relative and unique to each individual, especially visual perception.

Reaction Distance:
Reaction is a person’s ability to respond physically and mentally to external stimuli. For a driver, their reaction is taking their foot from the accelerator and applying the brake in order to stop the vehicle. Reaction distance is the distance the vehicle travels from the point a driver perceives or decides that something is a hazard, until braking.

Braking Distance:
Braking is what the driver does to slow a vehicle. Braking distance is the distance the vehicle travels from the point at which the driver applies the brake until the vehicle actually comes to a complete stop.

When Total Stopping Distance is increased, drivers need to make adjustments to the way they are driving to ensure driver, passenger and pedestrian safety. These adjustments would include decreasing speed and increasing following distance. It’s also important to scan ahead for possible obstructions and other dangers while driving. Time is paramount to preventing collisions and bodily injury.

Interested in learning more about Total Stopping Distance or other rules of the road? Click here to check out our full list of safe driving tips and feel free to contact Top Driver with any questions!


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