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Stopping distance is the distance that something travels before it comes to a stop. It normally refers to a car applying the brakes when the driver who sees a hazard ahead. Once he has seen the hazard, how far will the car travel before it comes to a stop? It involves two things:
This is how far the car will travel between (a) when the driver has seen the hazard, and (b) when the driver puts his foot on the brake. In other words, the car is not slowing down yet. Sometimes we talk about thinking time, or reaction time. It is important not to get this confused with thinking distance. Complete the following table, working out the thinking distance of a driver at various speeds. Use as a thinking time the reaction time of an average young adult, 215 milliseconds. It is useful first to convert the speeds from mph into ms-1. Speed / mph 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 Speed / ms-1
What affects reaction times?
Thinking Distance / m
Stopping Distance P2
What affects braking distance?
This is the distance travelled by the car between when (a) the driver puts his foot on the brake and (b) the car stops. In other words, while the car is slowing down; after the thinking distance. Braking distance is not proportional to the car’s speed; as your speed increases, the braking distance can get very large very quickly.
We can work out stopping distance by adding the thinking distance to the braking distance. Copy your values of thinking distance from the previous question, then complete the following table to show the stopping distance of a car at various speeds. Speed / mph 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 Thinking Distance /m Braking Distance /m 14 24 38 55 75 98 123 Stopping Distance /m
Now plot a graph of Stopping distance (in m, on the y-axis) against speed (in mph, on the xaxis). What does the graph tell you?