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Drive at a speed that will allow you to stop well within the distances you can see to be clear.

You should

  • Leave enough space between you and the vehicle in front so that you can pull up safely if it suddenly slows down or stops. The safe rule is never to get closer than the overall stopping distance.
  • Allow at least a two-second gap between you and the vehicle in front on roads carrying fast traffic. The gap should be at least doubled on wet roads and increased still further on icy roads.
  • Remember, large vehicles and motorcycles need a greater distance to stop.

When a car is travelling at a higher speed, a driver has less time to identify hazards and react to what is happening around them. It takes vehicles further to stop from higher speeds, and if there is a crash, the injuries will be more severe.

Speed increases both the thinking distance and the braking distance. A driver travelling at faster speeds will have covered more ground in between spotting a hazard and reacting to it. ROSPA’s simulator will give you an idea about how much longer thinking distances can be at higher speeds.

Speed limits are, therefore, set to help drivers understand the dangers of each road, and inform drivers of the legal maximum speed, above which the risks to the driver and other road users are too great to accept.

ROSPA/THINK! stopping distances simulator

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