COULD YOU STOP IN TIME?
The two most common causes of road
accidents are drivers travelling too fast and misjudging speed and distance. Most people
would agree with the Highway Code's advice to "Leave enough space between you and the
vehicle in front so that you can pull up safely if it slows down or stops suddenly".
Few drivers actually put this into practice judging by the many stuns that occur and the
practice of "tailgating" on highways. The shortest stopping distance and any
speed is a combination of Thinking Distance (i.e. reaction time x speed) plus Braking
STOPPING DISTANCE DEPENDS ON
How fast you are going
Whether you are travelling on the level, uphill or downhill
The weather and state of the road
Your driving ability and reaction time
Many people drive much too close to the vehicle in front or too fast for the road and traffic conditions. This is probably because they think they can stop in a shorter distance than they really can. This in turn is often because they cannot judge distances properly. KEEP THE SAFETY GAP On the open road try to keep a gap of 2 seconds between you and the vehicle in front. As the vehicle in front passes a fixed object (e.g. a sign, lamp post or bridge) start saying slowly "only a fool breaks the two second rule". If you pass the same object before you finish the saying, you're too close. This should give you adequate time to react in good conditions. Double the gap in bad weather by saying the phrase twice. TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT
If you have to take panic action because you have insufficient room to act smoothly, you are either going too fast or driving too close to the vehicle in front. If you are following a vehicle closer than your thinking distance you will hit it if it stops suddenly. When its brake lights come on - it's already stopping while you travel your thinking distance before your foot reaches the brake pedal. GIVE YOURSELF A CHANCE
Choose the right speed for the conditions and road layout - that is slow enough to be able to stop within the distance you can see to be clear ahead. Always make allowance for variations in the road surface, the effect of weather conditions and the possible sudden appearance of other vehicles and pedestrians - especially children. SPEED CAN KILL
Check your vehicle regularly and have it serviced according to the manufacturer's instructions. Ensure the brakes are efficient, the tyre pressures are correct and the tread has more than the legal minimum
WORN TYRES ARE LETHAL
Make sure you are fit to be at the wheel. If you are tired or unwell avoid driving if you can. If you are taking medicines - check the label for warnings about their effect on driving or ask your doctor. Have your eyesight tested at least every 2 to 3 years; even if you think your eyes are all right, changes in vision can be gradual and you may not be aware of them SEE WELL FOR SAFETY
Alcohol reduces co-ordination, lengthens reaction time and impairs judgement of speed and distance.
DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE
COULD YOU STOP IN TIME?
In normal driving your actual reaction time is likely to be slowed by distractions or lapses in concentration. Also, changes in road and weather conditions and brake / tires wear will make braking distances longer.
SPEED CAN KILL
YOU NEED TIME TO REACT