My friend Bubba looks for certain things when he's shopping for a new vehicle. It has to “look good, drive good and sound good,” he says.
One other thing. It has to have good brakes. He learned the hard way how important it is to have stopping power.
When he was a teenager, Bubba and some of his buddies were out, shall we say, proving their driving skills on a country road when a big buck deer ran out in front of them.
The driver's natural reaction was to hit the brakes ... hard. The buck's natural reaction was to stand there. You've heard of “deer in the headlights?” Anyway, the deer didn't move. The brakes on the pickup didn't hold. The driver panicked. The pickup went down an embankment, into a ditch.
The deer still didn't move ... until the loud crash of the pickup striking a boulder and the horn going off. Luckily, no one was hurt.
“But I said right then and there that I would always check the brakes before going anywhere,” Bubba said.
Far as I know, he's done so ever since.
I've been trying to teach my son that the car doesn't stop immediately when you press the brakes. He thinks that unless you are really driving fast, you'll stop in seconds. Do you have any information to prove my point?
It may stop in seconds, Dave. Especially if it hits something. There are many factors involved, such as weather and road conditions, speed, weight of the vehicle, condition of your tires, reaction time of the driver and, of course, condition of the brakes.
You can find a wealth of information online relating to braking distance and what affects it. There also are numerous charts and other displays available. Here, from the Oklahoma Driver's Manual, are some estimated numbers relating to braking, “from eye to brain to foot to wheel to road.” In other words, from when you see the need to brake, to reaction, to movement, to stop.
You might be a little surprised.
First, the manual says there are three steps in stopping your vehicle — perception, reaction and braking. The perception takes about half a second. This is seeing/hearing danger.
The reaction takes about two-thirds of a second. This is when the brain tells the foot to brake.
The braking/stopping depends upon speed. This is when you press the brake until the vehicle stops.
Now comes the estimated emergency stopping distances (from expert analysis):
At 20 mph, the distance in feet the vehicle travels as the driver reacts is 44. The braking distance is 15 to 22 feet. The total stopping distance is 59 to 66 feet.
At 30 mph, those numbers are 66, 33 to 50, 99 to 116.
At 40 mph, it's 88, 53 to 107, 141 to 195.
At 50 mph, 110, 83 to 167, 193 to 277.
At 60 mph, 132, 120 to 240, 252 to 372.
At 70 mph, 154, 163 to 327 and 317 to 481.
And at 80 mph, 176, 213 to 427 and 389 to 603.
Think about that. On a good road, in good weather, at 80 mph, you car's braking distance is more than a football field and a half.
And, at 80 mph at night, “you are overdriving your headlights — you can't stop your car within the distance you can see.”
By the way ...
If you have bad tires, and are traveling a bad road, or are in bad weather, you can see how the odds really are against you.
The numbers really don't look good. It's up to you.
Enjoy your week and drive safely.