In order to drive a vehicle safely, you need your brakes to be in full working order. Fortunately, there are relatively simple ways to ensure that your brakes are working properly, including knowing exactly what your braking distances should be. In the second of this month’s articles, we’ll be highlighting just what that involves.
What Are Braking Distances?
Braking distances refer to the distance it takes your vehicle to come to a complete stop from varying speeds once the brake is applied. For instance, if your car is travelling at 30mph, it should come to a full stop within 14 metres or 46 feet. The slower your vehicle is travelling, the faster it will stop, and vice versa.
The braking distance is combined with the thinking distance, the time it takes you to spot a hazard and decide to apply the brake, to form the complete stopping distance. At 30mph, this should amount to 23 metres or 75 feet. Another helpful way of measuring the distances is in car lengths. Therefore, the stopping distance at 30mph amounts to 6 car lengths.
For every one mile per hour you are travelling, approximately one extra foot will be added to your thinking distance. For instance, driving at 35 mph will see your thinking distance increase to 35 feet, and so on. Another noteworthy point is that in wet conditions your stopping distance will increase by at least double, while in icy conditions it will increase tenfold.
Once you have a rough idea of appropriate stopping distances, you can apply it to your own brakes. If it takes you significantly longer than 6 car lengths to bring your car to a full stop whilst driving at 30 mph, there may be a serious problem that must be addressed. Alternatively, if your car stops well before this distance, your brakes are in peak condition.
How Do You Check Your Brakes Are Working?
To check that your brakes are working properly, and therefore will stop within the correct distances, there a few tests you could implement. The simplest of these involves parking on a flat, unbusy road and gently pressing the brake pedal. If your foot goes straight to the floor without any resistance, you could have a problem and you should avoid driving the vehicle. If there is adequate resistance, you know that the brakes are being applied.
Testing your brakes any further beyond that may put you or other road users in danger. As brakes are often all that stands between you and serious injury, it is paramount that you ensure they are in pristine condition. To achieve that, you’ll need the services of a garage you can trust – you’ll need Universal Tyres.
Universal Tyres are experts when it comes to brake servicing and maintenance, and we even offer a free brake check to give you complete peace of mind that your car is in top shape. With over 90 years of experience in the field, you can rest assured that when you book a comprehensive brake service with us, you are in the safest hands no matter where you are in the south of England.