If you’ve ever been irritated because you have to slow down to a crawl in school zones, you probably figured that, if someone ran out in front of you, you’d be able to stop in time. Unfortunately, you’re wrong. Human beings who have the fastest possible reflexes—on the level of athletes or actively training fighters—need at least a quarter of a second to react to anything. This is roughly how long it takes your eyes to take in information, to process that information in your brain and for your brain to send the correct impulses to your muscles to respond. This is about as fast as people can possibly react. In all likelihood, you react at a considerably slower rate, which makes speed dangerous.
Breaking by the Numbers
If you’re travelling at 15 miles per hour, you can expect the combination of your reaction time and the time it takes your car to physically stop moving to be around 70 feet. Understand that children routinely run out in front of cars at much closer distances. If you’re going 20 miles per hour, it’s going to take you over 100 feet to stop and the speed is certainly enough to kill a child. It’s annoying to have to slow down to 20 miles per hour or less in school zones, especially when you’re in a rush, but you’re just being negligent if you don’t obey those laws.
When you’re travelling at highways speeds—55 miles per hour—it takes nearly 500 feet for the average driver to stop. In terms of having to react to something in your path of travel, that means that you need plenty of time. The best way to assess your braking distance is in terms of time, even though charts usually measure it in feet. In a bad situation, it’s going to be all about how fast you can react and stop and that’s measured in time.
Steady Breaking Rule
Stay 2 seconds behind any vehicle in front of you. This gives you plenty of time to react and come to a stop. If it’s nighttime and you come up to the end of your headlight’s range in 2 seconds or less, you’re going too fast. Slow down. Whenever pedestrians are around, remember that it takes over 100 feet to stop if you’re going at any speed above 20 miles per hour. Slow down and you might save someone’s life.
A Dallas car accident attorney can help you if you need representation from a wreck lawyer or a wrongful death attorney.