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UK drivers don't know stopping distances

24 August 2007

  • Most don't know correct stopping distances
  • When told, they can't judge how far distance is
  • 18-30 age group have best knowledge

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UK drivers are so bad at understanding stopping distances that some believe that it can take more than two miles to stop a car from 70mph.

More than half of British motorists could not correctly identify the correct stopping distances in a poll conducted by motoring insurer Highway.

In addition, when drivers were told the correct answer and asked to show how far away that distance was, most couldn't do so accurately.

The survey revealed that only 9% of drivers could get within 10% of naming the correct stopping distances for a car moving at 30mph, 50mph and 70mph.

Only two of 250 drivers (0.8%) questioned correctly identified the correct stopping distances in metres for the three speeds.

However, almost 10% of the motorists claimed it would take between 0.3 of a mile and 2.18 miles to stop a car at 70mph.

The higher figure is more than 36 times longer than the correct answer, which is 96 metres, including thinking time.

Just 5% of motorists correctly judged each distance when informed of the correct answer, with 66% underestimating it.

When asked to mark out the stopping distance at 30mph (23 metres), drivers marked out distances between six and 41 metres.

When asked to mark out the stopping distance at 50mph (53 metres), drivers marked out distances between 15 and 81 metres.

Drivers aged 18-30 were best at knowledge of braking distances, but drivers aged 31-50 performed best when it came to judging the distances.

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