What Is My Braking Distance? | El Cajon, CA | West Automotive Group
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How Fast Can a Car Stop?

And How Far Will You Travel?

The best brakes in the world never overcome the laws of physics. Drivers in El Cajon need to be aware of the following point: Their braking distance increases by four times when they double their speed. It simply isn't the case that braking distance doubles when speed does. So, if you were going 25 miles per hour previously and are now going 50 mph, give yourself four times the amount of space to work with.

Factors Affecting Stopping Distance

Several factors affect how quickly cars stop, for example:

  • Speed of vehicle
  • The condition of the brakes
  • Make, model and age of the vehicle
  • Traffic, weather, visibility and other situational factors
  • Driver experience

To elaborate on the last point, younger drivers are more likely to freeze up when they encounter something unexpected. Thus, some older generations may brake more quickly or decisively than an 18-year-old driver.

Whether brake repair is needed is another important issue. Worn brake drums, leaky brake lines, or any of many other problems affect a car's braking distance.

Speeds Plus Braking and Stopping Distances

First, know that braking distance and stopping distance are not the same. Stopping distance includes driver reaction time—the time it takes the driver to perceive the need to brake and to engage the brakes. Here are some examples of braking and stopping distances on dry surfaces. They are generalized, of course, and do not apply equally to all vehicles.

Vehicle traveling 30 mph

  • Distance to react: 30 feet
  • Braking distance: 45 feet
  • Stopping distance: 75 feet

Vehicle traveling 50 mph

  • Distance to react: 50 feet
  • Braking distance: 125 feet
  • Stopping distance: 175 feet

Vehicle traveling 70 mph

  • Distance to react: 70 feet
  • Braking distance: 245 feet
  • Stopping distance: 315 feet

The length of a football field is 360 feet. That gives you some idea of how far a car traveling 70 mph takes to stop. That can all change depending on the road conditions. Here’s the stats for a vehicle stopping on a wet surface:

Vehicle traveling 50 mph

  • Distance to react: 50 feet
  • Braking distance: 250 feet
  • Stopping distance: 300 feet

At West Automotive Group in West El Cajon, we perform brake repair and antilock braking system (ABS) repair. Get in touch to schedule an appointment, or stop by.

Written by West Automotive Group