How to achieve shorter stopping distances

By Jason Simms

There are a number of factors that impact on stopping distance. And while you can't influence the weather or the state of the road, you can make sure that your car’s condition and the way you drive help you achieve shorter stopping distances.

Stopping Distances

What is stopping distance?

The total stopping distance for your car is a combination of:

  • Thinking distance: the time it takes you to react to a hazard

  • Braking distance: how far your car travels before it comes to a full stop

Stopping distance equals thinking distance PLUS braking distance.

How to achieve shorter stopping distances

Stopping distance can be influenced by wet weather, snow and ice or poor visibility over which you have no control. But there are several other factors you can influence to bring down your stopping distance.
As a driver, your reactions will be impaired when you’re tired or unwell, and you should never drive after using drugs or alcohol. You should avoid distractions such as loud music or using a mobile phone in order to be ready to react to any hazard.
Before you drive, give your car a quick check, particularly brakes and tyres.
Did you know?

Protyre offer free tyre checks at all of our garages. Click the button below to book your vehicle in and let our technicians advise on the best tyres for you.

Free Tyre Check

Why tyres matter for braking performance

The condition of your tyres and the type of tyres you’re using can make a huge difference when it comes to reducing your stopping distance.
Underinflated tyres can have an adverse impact on stopping in the wet. You should also check tyre tread depth to ensure you have the maximum grip. In our experience, that means driving with at least 3mm of tread rather than the minimum 1.6mm. Independent tests show that tyres with less than this depth of tread are much less efficient at evacuating water and can take an extra two car lengths to come to a stop. If you’re travelling at high speed on the motorway or travelling in poor visibility, that could have terrible consequences.

The right tyre for the job

You may need to change your tyres to suit the weather conditions. Summer tyres deliver efficient braking and shorter stopping during the warmer months but once the temperature drops below 7C degrees, if you drive in adverse conditions, you may need the special compounds found in winter tyres.
Each tyre is specially adapted to offer optimum shorter braking distances. Opting for all season tyres will never deliver the shorter stopping distance guaranteed by using summer or winter tyres.

Premium or budget? Talk to our tyre professionals

One other consideration when it comes to braking performance is premium vs budget tyres. The research and development investment from a premium brand such as Pirelli ensures that they deliver superior performance, grip and safety in all weather conditions. In fact, budget tyres can take an extra 5 metres to stop in the dry and 14 metres to stop when driving in the wet at 70mph.

Need new tyres? Buy online at Protyre and save £££s!

Protyre stock a wide range of Premium, Mid-range and Budget tyres to suit any requirement with same day fitting available on many options. Click the button below to browse our selection.

Buy Tyres

If you want the best braking performance and a shorter stopping distance, opt for seasonal premium tyres for optimum results.
To get the best tyres for your car, why not use the intuitive tyre search function on our website or book in for a free tyre check. Our qualified fitters will give your tyres the once over and recommend the best replacements.

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About the author

Article Author Photo
By Jason Simms
Jason was a motoring journalist and photographer for 12 years’ before he joined the PR world 11 years ago. Being a genuine petrolhead, he’s always had an interest in the technical side of automotive, which he’s carried over into his time with TyreSafe. Jason’s been working for the UK’s charity dedicated to raising awareness on tyre safety for over four years and is proud to be part of the team which has helped reduce tyre-related casualties by 46% since TyreSafe’s inception in 2006.
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