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Rubber on the road and stopping distances

The part that your tyres play in braking

Stopping is the most important ability to have when driving. If you can’t stop in time, the consequences don’t bear thinking about. That’s why you should keep your distance when driving – so that, if the vehicle in front stops suddenly, you don’t slam into its rear end. So that your vehicle doesn’t get mangled. So that you don’t get mangled.

What is your stopping distance?

Stopping distance includes two elements.

First is the thinking/reaction time. The time it takes for you to see the brake lights on the vehicle ahead. For you to recognise this as a sign of potential danger, and for your brain to send a signal to your feet and hit the brake pedal. Mostly affecting your reaction time is your focus. If you’re tired, talking, or thinking about other things, your reaction time is likely to be slower.

Second is the braking distance – how far it takes to come to a stop once you have hit the brake pedal. There are plenty of factors in this second part of the equation. Road conditions, weather conditions, brake pads, shocks… all have an affect on braking distance. But, above all of these is your tyres.

How your tyres affect your stopping distance

If you are driving on tyres at the wrong tyre pressure or on worn tyres, your braking distance is going to be affected. Probably a lot more than you think. This is going to put you at risk, as well as your passengers and other road users. The child who runs into the road ahead of you doesn’t stand a chance.

Tyre wear and tear and poor tyre pressure affect how your tyres grip the road. If the road is wet, your braking distance is doubled. If you run on low tread, the effect is equally dangerous.

At only 50mph a car with tyres with the bare legal minimum of tread will take 14 metres’ further braking distance than a car with tyres that have 8mm of tread depth. That’s more than three car lengths of stopping distance. I wonder what that young child’s future could have been?

Whether underinflated or overinflated, if your tyre pressure is wrong it will make it more difficult to control and stop your vehicle. Overinflated tyres have less rubber in contact with the road. This means less grip. Less grip means it takes longer to stop. When a tyre is underinflated, it is harder for it to grip the tarmac.

Poorly inflated tyres also lead to uneven wear and tear. This makes handling more difficult and leads to shorter periods between replacing tyres. So, poor tyre pressure not only makes driving more dangerous, but it costs you more money, too.

Better tyres equal shorter stopping distances equal safer driving

Whatever road you are driving on, whatever the weather conditions, and whatever your reaction time, the better your tyres are the shorter the braking distance will be. And that means safer driving. Fewer accidents. Fewer deaths on the roads in Queensland.

Whether you are driving around the streets of Brisbane, on rural roads, or on the highways, your tyres are critical to stopping distance. They are crucial to avoid hitting children who step into the road without warning. Essential to avoid slamming into the sudden line of traffic ahead of you.

Do premium tyres help reduce braking distance?

A few weeks ago, I wrote about why savvy drivers buy premium tyres in Brisbane. Among the reasons was that they last longer, give a better driving experience, and reduce your fuel consumption. Premium tyres also reduce braking distances. Not only do they benefit from millions of dollars in research and development spending, they are also manufactured with higher-grade materials.

What tyres should you buy to reduce stopping distance?

I started this post by saying that there are two elements that affect stopping distance. The crucial factors, of course, are your reaction time, your brakes, and your tyres. The more alert you are, the shorter your reaction time. The better the condition of your brakes, the shorter your braking distance. And, of course, the better quality your tyres, the shorter your stopping distance.

For advice on what the best tyres are for your vehicle, driving style, and budget, call into our Darra Tyre shop. Feel free to contact us to book an appointment or ask any questions you may have.

Keeping your family and fleet safe on the road,

Dean Wood

About the Author

A Professional fighter living and fighting in Thailand for many years retired at 26 yrs old with a massive hand injury which really changed his focus from fighting to training and helping the youth of their local area. After his injury and change of focus, he recently had an interest in Darra Tyres the family business and has decided to dedicate to the growth of Darra for himself and his family. Currently, he is still training kids at Corporate Box twice a week as Darra now has taken priority.

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