Stopping Distances

  • bstreetsmart
  • The Trauma Service Westmead Hospital
  • T 8890 7458
  • E
  • P.O. Box 533
    Westmead NSW
    Australia 2145

Recent studies show that driving even a few kilometres per hour above the speed limit greatly increases the risk of a crash.

The risk of causing death or injury in a 60km/h zone increases rapidly with only small increases in speed.

▪ The crash risk at 65km/h is twice the risk as 60km/h

▪ The crash risk at 70km/h is more than four times the risk than at 60km/h

One reason for this increased risk is reaction time – the time it takes for a driver to realize a danger and reacting to it. Reaction time is critical and so if a driver is a little distracted then it will take them longer to react – which increases the time it takes them to brake.

Braking distance is the distance a car travels before stopping when the brakes are applied. The braking distance is affected by a variety of factors – the surface of the road – wet or dry, sealed or dirt, the quality of the tyres of the vehicle.

One of the key factors in speeding related crashes is that most drivers underestimate the distance needed to stop.

Source: RAA (Royal Automobile Association)

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