IAM Driving Tips – Braking
Braking can be harder than it sounds, particularly if the weather is rougher than a piece of sandpaper.
Braking can be harder than it sounds, particularly if the weather is rougher than a piece of sandpaper. As such, Institute of Advanced Motorists Driver Training Specialist, Simon Elstow, has some straightforward tips to help motorists cope this winter. His advice is:- Brake in a straight line where possible. Braking while going through a bend unbalances the car, so get your speed and gear right beforehand. - Brake smoothly. If you plan your driving and keep an eye on the traffic conditions ahead you can avoid braking harshly – in many cases you may avoid braking altogether. - Don’t underestimate how long it actually takes you to stop. At 30mph, you will take 23 metres or five car lengths to stop, at 50 this doubles to 53m (12 car lengths), and at 70 it takes 96m, or 21 car lengths. - Always leave at least two seconds between yourself and the car in front. Watch the car in front go past a lamp post or tree, and count how long it takes you to reach it. - As a guide, you should at least double this in the wet, and quadruple it in snow and ice. - For extra winter grip, consider winter tyres. These maintain grip well below that of normal tyres, which start to stiffen below 7ºc. Mr Elstow said: “Braking is a skill that needs practice – do it properly and you’ll improve fuel consumption and journey times. If you prepare in time, and look further down the road, you can avoid stopping as often – for example, look ahead and plan to meet a gap in the traffic on a roundabout.”