If you were travelling at 100mph along a rural or country road – when suddenly, about a hundred-metres up-ahead, a little girl of four years-old wonders into your lane – oblivious of the on-coming danger. You drop your right-foot like a heavy anvil and slam-on the brakes all the while praying that you will stop in-time.
Although I have used an extreme example – the illustration serves as a stark reality. On average, there is an estimated 7807 pedestrian related collisions, below the age of fifteen, on U.K roads every year – twenty-eight deaths are of children below the age of ten. However, with winter approaching, motorists need to be prepared for much more slippery road conditions and reduced visibility with the advent of snowfall. In the event of an emergency brake-stop scenario, a majority of U.K drivers underestimate the distance required to stop their vehicle in relation to the speed they are travelling – moreover their reaction-time! Reaction-time is a critical component, notwithstanding the condition of both your tyres and the road: irrespective of how advanced your car’s braking system. Over-and-above safety driver-aids like ABS/EBD/EBA and ESP – reaction-time is the crucial force of how rapidly and affectively you execute your vehicle’s stopping power. Therefore, by process of analysis, we can outline the mechanics of what augments a person’s reaction-time which are modulated by age, gender, depth-perception, cognitive-urgency and experience. The time elapsed between a driver spotting a hazard and taking evasive action is 1’s respectively, 0.2’s for the braking system to engage, 0.3’s to generate hydraulic-force to the wheels and bring the car to a complete stop, therefore, it takes a total of 1.5-seconds. At an average speed of 30mph: (+/- 13m/s x 1.5-seconds = 19.5-metres), rounded-off to twenty-metres – is the stopping distance required when faced with an unexpected and sudden road-hazard. However, doubling your speed to 60mph, quadruples, ‘not doubles,’ your stopping-distance, factor-in the slippery road conditions we can expect this winter, reduced daylight visibility, and driver fatigue paints a dismal reality for motorists. Therefore preparation and awareness are key – which starts with you.
Safety does not happen by accident! Taking your vehicle to a local M.O.T centre is a good start: M.O.T inspections are compulsory anyway for vehicles older than three years-old. Next invest in a set of winter tyres. Whether-or-not it is necessary to forego the extra-cost and hassle depends on which region you stay and how frequently you will be driving? Winter tyres have a high silica content to withstand sub-zero temperatures and a unique tread pattern to enhance braking and handling performance during poor-traction weather-related road conditions. Otherwise All-Season Tyres can be a happy compromise. Either way, this winter take every precaution possible to avoid the inevitable.
Written by Dean Joseph