What are the driving stopping distances UK

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Resist the temptation to speed

Sometimes, a clear road or wanting to impress your mates can tempt you to speed.

What you might think is harmless fun can end in tragedy. For that moment of temptation, you may lose your licence, job, mates, and even your or somebody else’s life.

Speeding is the major cause of road crashes. The speed limit is there for a reason.

Stopping distances

The formula to arrive at the safe stopping distance is Thinking Distance + Braking Distance = Stopping Distance.

According to the RAC, the typical stopping distances for an average family car travelling are:

  • 20mph is 12m (40 feet) – 3 car lengths.
  • 30mph is 23m (75 feet) – 6 car lengths.
  • 40mph is 36m (118 feet) – 9 car lengths.
  • 50mph is 53m (174 feet) – 13 car lengths.
  • 60mph is 73m (240 feet) – 18 car lengths.
  • 70mph is 96m (315 feet) – 24 car lengths.

Speed limits are a maximum speed, not a target

A speed limit of 30 miles per hour (mph) usually applies unless you see signs showing otherwise.

The national speed limits for a car or motorcycle are:

  • Built-up areas – 30mph
  • Single carriageways – 60mph
  • Duel carriageways – 70mph
  • Motorways – 70mph

Sometimes, even driving at the speed limit can be too fast.

Weather conditions such as fog and rain can significantly affect both your visibility and the contact of your car tyres on the road.

Speed kills

The faster you drive, the greater your stopping distance, and the worse the injuries will be in a crash. Government research shows:

  • About 1 in 3 deaths on the road are speed-related.
  • 7 out of 10 drivers regularly break the speed limit.

It’s 30 for a reason

In accidents where a pedestrian is hit, the likelihood of death occurring is about four times more at 40 mph than at 30 mph.