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How Knowing Braking Distances Can Prevent Accidents

January 12, 2023 | Category: Automobile Accidents, Motorcycle Accidents, Truck Accidents | Share

It is important to know your stopping distance when driving. Preventing rear-end collisions may depend on it.

Speed affects a vehicle’s stopping distance. An article in the Insurance Journal said that over the last 20 years, speeding was a factor in 33 percent of all fatal accidents. Serious injuries resulted because the faster a vehicle is going, the less time there is for a driver to react to any potential hazards. Also, the higher the speed, the greater and more violent the force is upon impact.

In addition to speed, other factors can affect a driver’s ability to stop in time including:

  • The driver’s reaction time
  • The condition of the tires, including tread depth and air pressure
  • The road conditions – Wet and slippery conditions that include dry, dirt roads can also add a significant stopping distance.
  • The weather conditions
  • The vehicle’s physical condition and braking capacity

Drivers are encouraged to create a safety margin to give them a sufficient distance between the vehicle in front so there is time to react and safely stop.  Safely stopping requires drivers to mentally calculate the stopping distance.

How Knowing Braking Distances Can Prevent AccidentsThe perception of distance can be affected by mental and physical conditions, medication, visibility, and the actual hazard. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) says the average perception time for an alert driver is ¾ second to 1 second. At 50 mph, a vehicle travels 55 feet. When traveling at 50 mph on dry pavement with good brakes, a vehicle can travel 158 feet. Doubling the speed can impact the braking distance 4 times more.

Stopping suddenly is dangerous and often is caused by not paying attention to traffic flow or following too closely. Sudden stops make it difficult for drivers following a vehicle to avoid rear-end collisions. To prevent this, drivers are encouraged to check all mirrors and blind spots. Release the accelerator to allow the vehicle to slow down and press the brake pedal to activate the brake lights using steady pressure, according to the FLHSMV.

The National Library of Medicine reports that “traffic accidents are often due to human error, the probability of which increases when the cognitive ability of the driver decreases.  Cognitive capacity is closely related to the driver’s mental state, as well as other external factors such as the CO2 concentration inside the vehicle.”

The National Institute of Health (NIH) conducted a survey analyzing how these elements affect driving. Fifty drivers who drove for 25 minutes using a driver simulator completed a survey at the start and end of the experiment. During the test, their stress levels were monitored using biometric sensors. The results showed that the initial level of stress and tiredness the driver experienced had a strong impact on stress, driving behavior, and fatigue.

Medications, either prescribed or over the counter, also have an effect on a driver’s ability to brake in time to avoid an accident. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) says “Medications and driving don’t mix.” The side effects may include:

  • sleepiness/drowsiness
  • blurred vision
  • dizziness
  • slowed movement
  • fainting
  • inability to focus or pay attention
  • nausea
  • excitability

When drivers know their braking distances in different scenarios and how external factors may affect them, they may be able to prevent accidents. However, should you or a family member be injured because of the negligence of another driver who is not following safe driving recommendations, please contact Fort Myers Accident Attorney Randall Spivey at Spivey Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, P.A. after seeking medical attention. There are no costs or attorney fees until we receive a monetary recovery for you.

Attorney Randall Spivey has litigated all types of catastrophic personal injury and wrongful death cases in the state of Florida. He is a Board-Certified Civil Trial Attorney which only 1 percent of Florida lawyers have achieved. Board certification is the Florida Bar’s highest level of recognition of attorney competency and experience.

The Fort Myers accident legal team is available 24/7 by contacting us at 239.337.7483, toll-free at 1.888.477.4839, or contact us online at

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