What Is the Braking Distance?

Braking Distance is the distance your car travels after you have applied the brakes until your vehicle comes to a complete stop. The faster you are travelling, the more momentum you have and the braking distance will therefore increase accordingly.

What can affect the braking distance?

There are many factors that could affect the braking distance. However, here are some examples that can increase the overall braking distance:

  • Overall speed
  • Road conditions (poor road surface, debris in the road, etc))
  • Weather conditions (ice, rain etc)
  • Car conditions (bald tyres, worn brakes, number of people in the vehicle)

What are the typical Braking Distances?

The below diagram is a guide only and the overall braking distance will depend on your attention, the road surface, the weather conditions and the condition of your vehicle.

  • At 20mph the typical braking distance = 12 metres (40 feet) or three car lengths
  • At 30mph the typical braking distance = 23 metres (75 feet) or six car lengths
  • At 40mph the typical braking distance = 36 metres (118 feet) or nine car lengths
  • At 50mph the typical braking distance = 53 metres (175 feet) or thirteen car lengths
  • At 60mph the typical braking distance = 73 metres (240 feet) or eighteen car lengths
  • At 70mph the typical braking distance = 96 metres (315 feet) or twenty-four car lengths

How can I calculate the Braking Distance?

If you need help remembering your braking distances, you'll find an interactive braking distance simulator in our Driving Test Success All Tests PC software. You can customise the speed, road conditions and weight of your car to find out how each of these factors affects the overall braking distance of your vehicle.

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