Keep your distance and brake in time

05 September 2013

Motorists want to avoid accidents as much as possible and ideally altogether. So they need to know to stop safely. Unfortunately, unexpected obstacles are often encountered on the roads: the car in front stops suddenly, some kind of obstacle appears on a country road or, most alarmingly of all, a pedestrian comes out of nowhere right in front of you.

In order to be able to brake in these sorts of unforeseen circumstances, drivers need skills in how to stop safely. Experienced drivers abide by certain important road safety rules from the outset:

- Don’t exceed the speed limit. The higher your speed the longer your reaction time (from identifying the need to brake to the brake pedal being fully depressed).  Numerous studies have shown that the usual reaction time for drivers is 0.75-1.5 seconds. At a speed of 80 km/h the reaction distance is around 25 metres. At a speed of 110 km/h it’s 35 metres. And these figures don’t include braking distances!

- Keep your distance. Driving with a safety margin means you can brake in time if the car in front stops suddenly. And stopping with a safety margin means there’s still space in front of you, in case the car behind doesn’t manage to brake. In addition, if the car in front stalls or breaks down, it’s easy to get past it.

- Look both ways and well ahead. It’s very important when driving that your field of vision is as wide as possible. Looking well ahead is helpful in spotting potential hazards, such as road works, hold-ups or signs directing you to change lanes. Looking both ways is essential in order to see other road users and work out what they are about to do. It also enables you to spot pedestrians sooner.

Of course, there are other rules for stopping in time. But do drivers even use the three listed above? Unfortunately, the large number of accidents, and especially collisions with obstacles or pedestrians, demonstrate that Russian motorists all too seldom take care to brake in time. This issue and the issue of pedestrian safety are the subject of a new survey by the General Department of Road Traffic Safety of the Russian Ministry of Internal Affairs and NGO Road Safety Russia.

Have you been in a road accident because you didn’t manage to brake in time? We would like to invite all visitors to the General Department of Road Traffic Safety website to take part in the survey to answer this question and others.



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