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Session 6 - Progress

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Determining how long it takes to stop a vehicle requires two elements: reaction time and braking.  Of the two, reaction time is the critical factor in determining the distance it takes to stop your vehicle.  The more quickly you can perceive a problem and react to it, especially at higher speeds, the better your chances are of avoiding a collision.

Did you know?
Your car is traveling in feet per second one and one half times your speed. If you are driving 40 mph, your car is moving 60 (40 x 1.5) feet per second.  At 70 mph, 105 feet per second. That's one third the length of a football field, IN JUST ONE SECOND! Think of that the next time you turn your head to talk to your passenger, or change a CD, or dial your cell phone. Now think how long it takes a child to run into a street, or how quickly the car ahead of you on the highway can move into your lane. You need to recognize a problem quickly, and you need to respond quickly.

Did you know?
The distance your car travels between the time you take your foot off the gas and apply the brakes makes up the greatest portion of your stopping distance. This reaction distance is calculated by taking your speed, then adding it to the first number of that speed.

For example, if you are driving at 50 mph, you will travel approximately 55 feet before your foot hits the brake. At 70 mph, the distance is 77 feet. That's about the width of your and your neighbor's yard, all before your foot even hits the pedal. And these reaction times assume an alert driver who isn't sleepy, distracted, or impaired by alcohol or medication.

You need to know the distance necessary to stop your vehicle at any speed. Being able to estimate these distances will help you judge the safe speed for any situation.

Did you know?
The total distance it would take you to stop a vehicle going 60 mph is greater than the length of a football field? To calculate the total stopping distance of an average vehicle, take the speed and multiply it by the first number of that speed.

For example, if you are driving through your subdivision neighborhood only 5 mph over the 25 mph limit, your car will travel 90 feet from the time you decide you need to stop and the time your car comes to a rest. That means that if you see a ball roll into the street two houses ahead, and you hit the brakes because you think a child may run out after it, you will probably hit the child and still move forward another 20 feet. This is a dangerous risk, just to get to the end of the street a few seconds sooner.
One end zone to the other is the distance it would take to stop a vehicle going 60 mph.
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