Your tyres and stopping distance


Your tyres are the only link between your vehicle and the road, a critical contact area that is no bigger than the palm of your hand. They provide the vital grip for braking and the control of your steering, it is essential for stopping safely in an emergency. The distance it takes you to stop can be the difference between life and death. There are a variety of factors that can affect your stopping distance like your speed, brakes, tyre pressure, tyre quality and more. This post was written to help drivers identify problems with their stopping distance and address said problems immediately.


When thinking about your stopping distance this first thing to consider would be the speed you are driving at. Your stopping distance is made up of two factors, the thinking distance and the braking distance. The thinking distance is the time it takes the driver to process the information in front of him and react to said information by pressing the brake pedal. On the other hand, braking distance is the length travelled from pressing the brake pedal to the car coming to a complete stop. The faster you are going, the greater the distance travelled before you apply your brakes.


The invention of anti-lock brakes was welcomed because it helped drivers to maintain control of the vehicle in an emergency brake situation but it does not help the driver when it relates to reducing their stopping distance. However, properly maintained brakes can make an enormous difference. All brake pads are built with a block of friction material that pushes against the brake disc when the brakes are applied. This friction material wears down over time and the brake disc can become grooved causing them to overheat and lose stopping power. It is also worth remembering that brakes can also be affected by wet and icy roads which lead to moisture between the pads and discs that can make them less effective at bringing your vehicle to a stop.

Tyre pressure

Your tyres need to maximise their contact with the road to provide the best possible stopping distance. When tyres are over or under inflated, the tread contact patch is reduced, underinflated tyres pressure will make more contact with the road on the outer edges of the tyre while overinflated tyres will make more contact with the centre. Both over and under inflated tyres is unwelcome news for you and your stopping distance. Not only does this cause irregular wear and tear of the tyres but it also reduces traction which means that the tyres will be less effective at biting into the road surface and bring the car to a halt.

Tyre quality

It is a known fact that premium products work better than cheaper ones and this is the same for tyres, buying premium tyres from well-known manufacturers not only provides you with peace of mind, it also gives you the confidence to know that you are purchasing something from a credible business. Countless tests have been carried out and they all come to the same conclusion, premium tyres really are worth the extra cash when it comes to grip, control and most importantly the stopping distance.

October 17th, 2017 by