When driving any vehicle in any weather, you need to understand the safe stopping distances for the different speeds that you are most likely to be travelling at. This helps both you and other road users remain safe on the roads. You will likewise need to understand these distances to pass your Theory Test.

We have tried to break these details down for you into workable bitesize chunks that you can comprehend and be positive in the knowledge that you understand the stopping ranges involved in nearly all circumstances that you might well be most likely to deal with as a driver at some point in your life.

Thinking distance vs braking distance

Stopping ranges are calculated by adding your thinking range (the time it takes you to process the reality that you require to brake) to your braking range (the time it takes for your car to come to a halt after you put your foot on the brake pedal). The faster you are travelling, the higher your stopping range will be.

According to the Highway Code, minimum thinking distances are as follows:

20mph – 6 metres

30mph – 9 metres

40mph – 12 metres

50mph – 15 metres

60mph – 18 metres

70mph – 21 metres

Thinking distance figures are based upon a response time of 0.67 seconds, which presumes that drivers lookout and concentrate. According to a research study commissioned by road security charity Brake, the average thinking time for drivers is in reality 1.5 seconds.

Your thinking range shouldn’t usually be impacted by weather unless the conditions outside your car make it more difficult to spot and respond to dangers. Your braking distance (and for that reason your general stopping distance) will be heavily affected by conditions on the roadways.

The Highway Code states that typical breaking ranges in typical conditions are as follows:

20mph – 6 metres

30mph – 14 metres

40mph – 24 metres

50mph – 38 metres

60mph – 55 metres

70mph – 75 metres

Anything that decreases friction between your car’s tires and the road will have an unfavourable impact on your ability to stop quickly. It takes longer to brake on damp or icy roads than on dry surfaces due to the fact that it is harder to get traction in these conditions.

How to determine stopping distances

This would be as follows:

20mph x 2 = 40 feet (12 metres)

30mph x 2.5 = 75 feet (23 metres)

40mph x 3 = 120 feet (36 metres)

50mph x 3.5 = 175 feet (53 metres)

60mph x 4 = 240 feet (73 metres)

70mph x 4.5 = 315 feet (95 metres)

There is a good and fast method to compute overall stopping distances. If you begin at 20mph and then multiply by increasing periods of 0.5 for each 10mph boost in speed, you will get the stopping range in feet. This can easily be converted into metres by dividing by 3.3.

Factors Affecting Thinking Range.


Naturally, the faster your car is travelling at the point you see a risk, the more you will take a trip with the same response time compared to slower travelling speed. This is why leaving a sensible space is essential, specifically at greater speeds.


There might be a variety of possible interruptions inside and outside of the vehicle which might sidetrack your attention and considerably increase your thinking distance. These could be other people in the car, the radio, other road users or pedestrians. It is crucial you remain focused and in control of the vehicle at all times.


Tiredness can kill, take a break.
We have actually all seen the signs on freeways cautioning motorists of the risks from being tired at the wheel. Fatigue can influence drivers’ attention, awareness of concerns and response times to circumstances developing in front of them. On longer journeys, it is suggested you take a break every number of hours to prevent becoming overly relaxed and tired at the wheel.

What is Braking Distance?

Braking range is the time it takes your vehicle to stop from the moment you hit the brake pedal. This is the second part of your overall stopping range and follows your thinking range.

Elements Affecting Braking Distance.

Car Condition.

The condition of your vehicle will likewise play a substantial part in the effectiveness of stopping your vehicle. The condition of your tires and brakes are necessary to your braking distance. Having excessively worn tyres can increase braking distance by approximately 40%.

It is necessary these are frequently inspected and maintained. This is why we regularly check all Costs Plant tuition automobiles and replace parts and even the automobiles when needed.

Weight in the Car.

Due to the momentum created from travelling at speed, a much heavier car is harder to stop than a lighter car. While your thinking range should be the same despite vehicle weight, your braking range will increase causing longer overall stopping ranges.

Road Conditions.

Poorly maintained roads will make it more difficult to stop your vehicle. Loose components such as gravel will offer little resistance to stop you from progressing, as will mud and dirt. These restrict the contact between tyres and a solid surface area, restricting grip and capability to stop.

Stopping Ranges in Various Types Of Weather Conditions.

Stopping Distances in Rain.

When driving in damp conditions or in rain the Highway Code recommends your total stopping range will be at least double the range to stop on a dry surface.

There are two primary factors for this. The first being a wet road surface area will be more slippery developing less tire grip to the road and increasing braking range. In addition, negative climate condition such as heavy rain can considerably decrease visibility on roads, this is likely to increase your reaction time prior to braking.

Stopping Ranges on Ice.

When driving in conditions of ice and snow the Highway Code recommends your braking range could be TEN TIMES higher than on a dry road.

This suggests the formula for dropping in icy weather condition is:
Thinking Range + (Stopping Range x10) = Overall Stopping Range.

That suggests if you are travelling at 70 miles per hour on an icy roadway it could take you as much as 771m to stop your car. That is the equivalent of half a mile or the length of 8 football pitches.

Two Second Gap Guideline.

When driving, the basic rule is to leave a two-second space in between you and the vehicle in front, however, varying driving conditions can play havoc with this guesswork and leave you and others in danger.

If you are presently taking driving lessons, the possibilities are your instructor will have mentioned the two-second guideline at some time. The simplest way to check this is to recognise a landmark on the side of the road, possibly a tree or road sign. Count the time drawn from the car in front passing this point till the point when you pass this. Two seconds is the minimum suggested and serves at any speed – remember, over two seconds is constantly better than less.