Stopping Distance

on . Posted in Classical Mechanics

Stopping distance is to the total distance a vehicle travels from the moment a driver perceives a need to stop until the vehicle comes to a complete halt.

Key Points about Stopping distance

  • Perception Distance  -  This is the distance a vehicle travels while the driver is recognizing the need to stop.  It includes the time it takes for the driver to see a hazard and decide to apply the brakes. Factors affecting perception distance include the driver's reaction time, visibility, and alertness.
  • Reaction Distance  -  Once a driver perceives the need to stop, there is a delay before they can physically apply the brakes.  Reaction distance is the distance the vehicle travels during this reaction time.  It depends on factors such as the driver's reaction time, the vehicle's speed, and road conditions.
  • Braking Distance  -  This is the distance the vehicle travels once the brakes are applied until it comes to a complete stop.  Braking distance is influenced by the vehicle's speed, its braking system, road conditions, and the coefficient of friction between the tires and the road.

It's crucial for drivers to be aware of the factors affecting stopping distance, as it helps in making informed decisions about following distances and safe driving speeds.  Additionally, adverse conditions such as wet or icy roads can significantly increase stopping distances, emphasizing the importance of adjusting driving behavior based on environmental factors.


Stopping Distance formula

\( d =  v^2 \;/\; 2\; \mu \;g \) 
Symbol English Metric
\( d \) = stopping distance \(ft\)   \(m\)
\( v \) = velocity \(ft\;/\;sec\) \(m\;/\;s\)
\( \mu \) = friction coefficient \(dimensionless\)
\( g \) = gravitational acceleration \(ft\;/\;sec^2\) \(m\;/\;s^2\)


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Tags: Transportation Surveying