Do You Know the Stopping Distance of Your Car?

Do You Know the Stopping Distance of Your Car

Knowing how long it takes for your car to break property is important information to have. Braking distance is impacted by driving habits, driving speed, weather conditions, and type of vehicle. 

This article will look at what factors influence braking distances and provide you with a stopping distance chart so you can be more informed on the matter!

What is stopping distance?

Calculating stopping distance is easy. You take the speed you’re driving and multiply it by how many feet you go in one second. The number you get is the total stopping distance of your car.

For example, driving a car at 60 miles per hour (mph) for 100 ft would equal to 600ft or 0.15 mi before it came to a complete halt. 

However, your car stopping isn’t the only thing you have to take into account. There is also how long it takes you to react to the situation and hit the brakes. This is called the thinking distance

Usually driving at a speed of 25mph, it only takes you about three seconds to hit the brake. However, driving in heavy traffic or during poor weather conditions the thinking distance can increase drastically and add more time before your car actually comes to a halt.

So, your true stopping distance is your thinking distance plus your actual braking distance.

 >>>>> Image credit – Red Driving School

Factors that impact braking distance

Some of the most common factors that impact braking distance include :

Driving speed 

The faster you are driving, the more force is needed to stop your car. Consequently, stopping distance increases with speed and will be much longer than if you were driving at a slower pace. 

Driving downhill can also impact braking since gravity plays its part in making it harder for brakes to work properly under pressure.

Weather Conditions

The weather conditions on the road have a significant impact on your braking distance. For instance, driving on wet roads or braking during a downpour will have an impact. 

If you are driving downhill in the rain and the brakes fail to work properly, your car may end up going over the edge of a cliff or into oncoming traffic.

Car Condition

The existing condition of your brakes and tires can have a significant impact on your braking distance. When driving, the stopping distance of your car is measured from when you first apply pressure to break and then release it. 

A regular braking test will give you a good idea of how well your brakes work. Your best bet would be to drive with caution at all times since driving in an unsafe manner can impact not only yourself but those around you as well.

Factors that impact thinking distance

Some of the most common factors that impact thinking distance include: 


There is a direct correlation between driving while tired and the increased braking distance. The more tired you are, the slower your mind works, and the longer the thinking distance is before you actually break. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, don’t drive tired.


Distractions impact your attention on the road. When driving and distracted, your thinking distance can be up to four times as long. 

Actions like talking to other passengers, using a mobile phone, driving while consuming alcohol, driving under the influence of drugs, and even loud music can all play a role in increasing your thinking distance.

How to decrease your stopping distance

The best way to decrease your stopping distance is by driving as if there were a rock under the accelerator pedal. Keep your speed low and keep your eyes on the road,

This means that you should be driving at all times with complete attention to what is happening around you, and keeping both hands on the wheel in a ten-and-two position.

Also, avoid slamming on the brakes when driving fast. This can cause the car to go into a skid.

Instead, always apply your brakes smoothly and slowly until you have come to a complete stop. 

If driving fast in snow or rain is unavoidable for any reason, keep your speed low as driving at high speeds increases stopping distance dramatically due to the impact of momentum on water and slush particles.

Learn to Drive in Nevada Today!

The Northwest Driving School and Traffic School provides the Las Vegas community with live driving and traffic classes taught by seasoned instructors. 

All of our driving instructors have passed background checks. 

Each automobile is DMV safety-approved, and every member of the Northwest family is committed to providing excellent driver’s education and behind-the-wheel instruction.

At Northwest, you can expect to find outstanding classes, both on campus and behind the wheel, that are engaging, fact-filled, entertaining, and geared toward success. 

We make no bones about it, we believe that Northwest provides the best driving lessons in Las Vegas, no matter your age or background. We are proud of the fact that 98% of our students pass their tests on the first try. Call us at (702) 403-1592 to start your driving adventure with one of our expert instructors.

Written by:
Rich Heinrich,
Master Instructor / General Manager

Instructor and Office Administrator

Frankie works and karaoke's in Las Vegas but his out-of-doors-heart is still out East. Born in Boston, Frankie loves the snow and mountains. As an avid snowboarder, Frankie has never seen a snow day he didn't LOVE! A graduate from…Read More