Have you thought about how long it takes a car to stop if they have to quickly??? Can cars stop straightaway or does it take some time?

Think about the road outside your school or outside where you live. If this is a built up area the speed limit is probably restricted to 30mph, which isn't that fast really. What’s happening on the road? There might be pedestrians, dog walkers, shoppers or cyclists.

If someone steps out into the road a car cannot stop straight away. It takes time. The driver takes a second to react before they put their foot on the brake. The car then takes a while to stop. This is called Reaction Time and Braking Time.

A car travelling at 30mph travels 9 metres in the time it takes for the driver to react. The car then travels 23 metres before it comes to a stop. This only takes about 2 seconds so you don't have time to cross the road, realise you have made a mistake and turn back. This is the equivalent of 6 cars lined up so next time you see a line of parked cars take a look at how long this is.

A school saftey zone road sign with a 20mph speed limit notice

Lots of things can actually make this distance further, such as;

  • The car might be going too fast
  • The road might be wet
  • The cars brakes might not be well looked after
  • Type of vehicle, heavy large lorries can take longer
  • The driver might be distracted by their phone, passengers or music.