Several factors are involved in determining how long it takes a moving vehicle to come to a complete stop. These include the time that it takes for the driver to recognize a potential hazard and decide that braking is the best course of action and for the car to complete the braking process. The speed of the car, whether the roads are wet or not and the quality of the brakes play roles in this process as well.
The generally accepted estimate for how long it takes an individual’s brain to recognize something as a danger is three-quarters of a second. It takes another three-quarters of a second for the brain to communicate to the foot that it should move from the accelerator to the brake pedal and for the foot to complete this action. A car moving at a speed of 60 mph will travel 132 feet before the car even starts braking. One going 25 mph will cover about 55 feet of road during this time period.
However, the time that it takes for the brakes to complete their job will increase at a more rapid rate. This is because the stopping distance is proportional to its mass times the square of its velocity. Although a car traveling at a speed of 20 mph will take about 20 feet to stop once the driver has pushed the brake pedal, a vehicle going 40 mph will require 80 feet of space to be covered before it ceases moving.
When the reaction time is included, a car going 20 mph will travel about 64 feet before stopping, and one going 40 mph will go about 168 extra feet before it stops. A vehicle going 60 mph on the highway will have a reaction distance of 312 feet, and one traveling at a speed of 80 mph will travel an additional 496 feet before stopping. Simply put, doubling the car’s rate of speed will multiply the distance it takes to stop about three times at these speeds.
It is easy to see how driving at a lower speed can decrease the chances of an individual experiencing an accident and needing to consult with auto accident lawyers.
Another thing to consider in wet Houston weather is the condition of the roads as rain reduces the traction between the car’s tires and the road’s surface. This is especially true in the initial moments after a rainstorm starts due to the water mixing on the roadway with the oils left by other cars. As rain continues, it washes that oil away. However, the roads are obviously still slippery at this point than when they were dry.
Wet roads can double the distance it takes to stop a vehicle. For this reason, drivers are encouraged to cut their speed by about a third in wet conditions. For example, an individual who would normally drive 60 mph would dramatically decrease their chances of experiencing an auto accident and the need for a car crash attorney when that speed is reduced to about 40 mph when it is raining. A car that would normally travel 25 mph on city streets should reduce that speed to roughly 17 mph in wet conditions.
Either way, it is essential for drivers to consistently scan for potential hazards that may be coming up. Even at a lower rate of speed, the distance traveled can be extensive. Consider that a car going 25 mph, the usual speed limit for many urban and residential areas, is traveling about eight times as fast as the average person walks and roughly four times as fast as an average runner runs. It is also important to remember that lower speed limits are posted in these areas because the likelihood of interacting with pedestrians and cars crossing in front are increased.