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  • Writer's pictureAdrian Fedyk

T is for Thinking Distance - Driving Lessons in Basingstoke

Updated: May 13, 2023

Cars on Motorway
T is for Thinking Distance

As you develop your skills during your driving lessons in Basingstoke, you will find that thinking distance depends on how quickly you react. It takes well over half a second for most people to react.

If you are tired or unwell, it will take longer.

If you are driving at 20 mph, you'll travel about 6 metres (20 feet) before your brakes even begin to act:

  • At 30 mph, 9 metres (30 feet)

  • At 40 mph, 12 metres (40 feet).

And so on.

Braking Distance

This depends greatly on your speed and the size and weight of your vehicle.

It has even more effect on the overall stopping distance

  • At 20 mph, good brakes will stop your vehicle in about 6 metres (20 feet) on a dry road

  • At 40 mph (twice the speed), they will take 24 metres (80 feet) - FOUR times the distance.

You need to allow much more time and room to brake in bad weather. On wet roads allow double the normal stopping distance and ten times where the roads are icy.

Also your tyres won't grip the road surface so well:

  • On loose road surfaces

  • If there is any diesel spilt on the road.

In these conditions allow much more time and room to brake.

The Two Second Rule

Far too many accidents are caused by drivers getting too close to the vehicle in front.

It's essential that every driver is able to judge a safe separation distance in all road, traffic and weather conditions.

The safety of you and your passengers depends on it!

In good dry conditions an alert driver, who is driving a vehicle with first class tyres and brakes, needs to be at least two seconds behind the vehicle in front.

In bad conditions, double the safety gap to at least four seconds or even more.

How to Measure The Two Second Gap?

Choose an obvious stationary reference point ahead, such as a bridge, a tree or a road sign.

When the vehicle ahead passes the object say to yourself:

'Only a Fool breaks the two-second rule'.

If you reach the object before you finish saying it, you're too close. Multiple collisions often happen because the drivers involved were driving too close and were unable to brake in time.

You can avoid such accidents by looking well ahead and keeping your distance.

Give yourself time to react.

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