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Braking Distance: Safety Tips


No one likes having a driver following way to close on the road. Whether it is due to distraction or aggressive behavior, tailgating can lead to serious accidents. To help you stay safe on the road, our firm has compiled some useful information and tips on proper braking.

What Is The Safe Braking Distance?

Braking distance is how long it takes a vehicle to come to a full stop after the driver applies the brakes, according to the Florida Driver License Handbook. While braking distance is primarily a function of speed, other factors such as road conditions and driver reaction time are also important. To bring a car to a safe stop, it typically takes:

  • 69 feet at 20 miles per hour
  • 189 feet at 40 miles per hour
  • 359 feet at 60 miles per hour

On a dry and straight road, drivers should abide by the three-second rule. Assume that it will take at least three seconds for you to stop your car when you are driving in favorable conditions. To be clear, if conditions are less than favorable — rain, fog, nighttime, curved roads, etc. — leave additional space.

Five Safety Tips for Braking Distance

  1. Always Leave Plenty of Space:  The single best safety tip for braking distance is to leave plenty of space. If you are not sure how much braking distance you need, find a fixed point and make sure that at least three seconds passes between when the vehicle in front of you passes it and when you pass it.
  2. Slow Down: Reducing your speed is an effective way to avoid getting into a car accident. The slower a vehicle is travelling, the less braking distance it needs. Always comply with the posted speed limit.
  3. Pay Attention: Braking distance is how long it takes for your vehicle to stop once you hit the brakes. In other words, braking distance is not the same as stopping distance. In far too many cases, distracted drivers get into rear-end accidents even though they left enough space.
  4. Adjust for Road Conditions: Remember, braking distance is, in part, contingent on the road conditions. If the road is wet, it will take more distance to bring your vehicle to a safe stop. Similarity, in visibility is poor, it takes drivers longer to recognize a hazard — thus, additional space is required.
  5. Get Brakes Serviced Regularly: Finally, all Florida drivers should get their brakes serviced on a regular basis. Worn out brakes are a serious safety hazard. It will take you longer to stop your vehicle if you have bad brakes.

Injuries Caused by Tailgating Collisions

Rear-end collisions are among the most common types of car accidents. In fact, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) estimates that there are approximately 1.7 million rear-end crashes on U.S. roads each year. Varying widely in their severity, these accidents can lead to a broad range of injuries, including:

  • Broken bones
  • Muscle and ligament injuries
  • Soft-tissue damage, including whiplash
  • Back and spinal cord injuries
  • Concussion and traumatic brain injuries (TBIs)
  • Internal organ damage
  • Amputations

If you were injured in a rear-end crash that was caused by the negligence of another party, it is imperative that you contact a car accident lawyer right away. Your attorney will help you seek the full and fair financial support that you rightfully deserve.

Talk to a Car Accident Lawyer Now

At Fine, Farkash & Parlapiano, P.A., our Florida car accident attorneys have more than 100 years of combined experience representing injured victims. If you or your loved one was injured in a rear-end collision or tailgating accident, we can help.

To set up a free consultation, please contact our legal team right away. With a law office in Gainesville, we serve communities throughout North Florida, including in Alachua County, Clay County, and Marion County.