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Tyre Braking Distance

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The present topic is devoted to such an important aspect of driving as stopping distance. To be safe and responsible driver and to protect both your, your passengers and passers lives you should be aware of the exact factors which affect a car’s stopping distance.

First of all it is necessary to mention that many drivers confuse these two terms – stopping and breaking distance, although they imply completely different notions, so here are 3 integral notions to pay your attention to:

Stopping distance It is simply breaking distance, added to the thinking distance, note that the higher the vehicle speed the more important the breaking distance becomes.
Braking distance It is the distance taken to stop the car, once the brakes are applied.
Thinking distance (Reaction distance) It is a so-called human factor, the time necessary for a driver to react to the situation and press the breaks. Don’t forget that during this reaction time the car carries on moving.

As you can see from the previous table, we can express the interconnection between the terms in such a formula – Stopping distance = Braking distance + Thinking distance. To understand this interconnection, check the picture-chart.

Let’s mention those factors which affect the thinking distance for you, dear drivers, to see how great your personal responsibility is. You may react slower if you are:

  • under the influence of alcohol
  • under the influence of drugs
  • tired

Finally, never forget that the faster the car is travelling, the greater this thinking distance will be, so try to drive within the speed limits and avoid speeding unnecessarily.

Now let’s focus on breaking distance itself, and trace the interconnection between your car characteristics and the driving conditions you are under. Braking distance can be increased by:

  • greater speed
  • poor road conditions (icy, wet)
  • road surface
  • car conditions (worn tyres or breakes)
  • overloaded vehicle (with passengers and luggage)

Tyres are one of the most important elements when stopping a vehicle quickly and efficiently, that’s why when you are in a car tyre shop (myzdegree here is just as examle)you need  to choose high quality tyres and with good characteristics, and definitely don’t skip regular checking. Strictly speaking, tire (section) width is a vital factor, we are going to consider under this theme. It is generally acknowledged that wider tyres improve braking distance, but why? Let’s compare two tyres that are identical in all respects (diameter, material, etc), except for their width. So, can it influence anyhow? If we assume that the two tyres are constructed of the same material, then they should have the same breaking coefficient, right? Well, yes, except that the wider tyre has more surface area than the narrower one.

Why is this important? Well, it turns out that the coefficient of breaking distance of rubber on asphalt is dependent upon temperature. In our case, during threshold braking, we get instantaneous, “micro” sliding action between the rubber and the road. This causes heat to build up, which drops the coefficient of breaking. A wider tyre, having more surface area, can more easily dissipate this heat energy than can a narrower tyre. So, we can conclude that the wide tyres improve the breaking distance for 5-20%.

Now you have all the necessary knowledge on this topic, so keep your distance from the car in front, especially under poor weather conditions, keep to speed limits, choose appropriate tyres, keep your mind cool and have a nice trip!