Stopping & Braking Distances

Your tyres are the only link between your vehicle and the road – a critical contact area no bigger than the palm of your hand. They provide the vital grip for braking and the control of your steering – essential to you stopping safely in an emergency. The distance it takes you to stop can be the difference between life and death.

It takes longer to stop on worn tyres

How the tyre tread depth affects braking distances

Stop & Braking Distances Image 1

A new tyre has about 7-8mm of tread and although the legal minimum is 1.6mm across the central three quarters of the tyre, recent research recommends you change your tyres at 3mm for your safety and performance*.

As tread depth decreases, your stopping distance will increase. Incorrect tyre pressures also cause longer braking distances as the tyre’s surface contact with the road is less effective. Make sure your tread is safe and legal.

Keep a safe distance

It is imperative that you leave enough space between you and the vehicle in front so that you can pull up safely if it suddenly slows down or stops. The table below shows how various speeds affect your total stopping distance:

Speed Thinking Distance Braking Distance Total Stopping Distance
30mph 9 metres 14 metres 6 car lengths (23 metres)
50mph 15 metres 38 metres 13 car lengths (53 metres)
70mph 21 metres 75 metres 24 car lengths (96 metres)

Note: these distances are general guides – they will depend on your attention (thinking distance), road surface, weather conditions and condition of your tyres and vehicle at the time. Average car length – 4 metres.**