Emergency Stop – Lesson 6
Stopping In An Emergency Situation Including Stopping Distances
If a child runs out in front of you, you will need quick reactions and good control of the car to stop promptly
and safely. As this is an emergency then mirror checks will only delay your reactions and therefore not
necessary on these such occasions. If you look in your mirrors as often as you should anyway then you
will already have a rough idea of what traffic is following (i.e. mirrors checked for moving out when passing parked cars).
Poor Weather / Road Conditions / Road Surface
On a wet road, it may take up to twice the braking distance to stop and up to ten times on snow and ice. A
good driver should not need to carry out any emergency stops. If you look out for warning signs where pedestrians / children are more likely to be around then you are less likely to get caught out. 30mph
may be the maximum in many built up areas but judge every road accordingly.
Are You Driving At The Correct Speed With Consideration Given To Different Weather Conditions?
If you hit a child at 40mph, there is an 80% chance you will kill that child.
Four out of five will be killed.
If you hit a child at 30mph there is an 80% chance the child will live but may be left with serious
injuries. Four out of five will live.
If you hit a child at 20mph there is a likelihood of less serious injuries.
So watch your speed as even a few miles per hour can make a difference!
Do you know your Stopping Distances?
At 20mph, your overall stopping distance is around 40ft
At 30mph, your overall stopping distance is around 75ft – Almost double that of 20mph!
At 40mph, your overall stopping distance is around 120ft – Three times greater than at 20mph!
Carrying Out An Emergency Stop Exercise
It is recommended that you practise stopping your car promptly under control so that you know how to react
if you ever had to stop your vehicle in an emergency situation for real. You may be asked to carry out a simulated emergency controlled stop on your driving test. Approximately one in three tests will include this exercise. Your examiner will ask you to pull over somewhere convenient and then warn you in advance that
you will be given a signal for when you are to stop the car as if in a real emergency situation.
You will need quick reactions when you get the signal. Take your right foot off the accelerator (gas) pedal
and apply foot brake firmly and progressively then after a slight pause, apply the clutch pedal with your left
foot. Do not slam on the brake as this may lock up your wheels which would then cause the car to skid.
Also, try not to put the clutch down too soon so as to allow the engine, whilst in gear, to assist with the
braking to enable you to stop sooner. You are also, less likely to skid as the weight will be thrown forward.
When you brake, keep both hands firmly on the steering wheel to maintain control. Take a deep breath
when you have stopped, apply the handbrake and select neutral.
If it is your very first attempt to stop the car promptly, it is a good idea initially, to practise whilst your car is
still stationery (a dry run!) as this can help you get used to pivoting from the accelerator (gas) pedal to the
brake pedal with your right foot and applying the clutch with your left foot before trying it on the move. A dry
run will increase the likelihood of early success.
Observations Before Moving Off
When you have stopped the car in an emergency, you may find that you will be positioned more to the
centre of the road, possibly to pass parked cars therefore to check all areas is safe to move off again,
you will then need to check over your left shoulder blind spot. Check all mirrors and also look over your
right shoulder as well before moving off. Remember, an approaching car may not know why you are
stopped as the incident you stopped for may have cleared so it is important to check all round and signal
if it will give another motorist or pedestrian a benefit.
Causes Of Skids
Excessive acceleration especially on a wet road, poor road surface and in snow
Steering too harshly
Braking too firmly is the most common cause of skids leading to your vehicle’s wheels locking up
Braking on a wet road and on an icy or poor road surface would increase your chances of skidding
Anti lock braking systems (most modern cars have ABS brakes), have a sensor control which
releases the brake and immediately applies it again therefore preventing the wheels from locking.
Correcting A Skid
If the wheels have locked up, your car has been put into a skid so you need to release the foot brake and
then reapply the foot brake again but not so harshly this time – apply firmly and progressively.
If Your Back End Swings To One Side
Steering or braking too harshly on a bend could lead to loss of control with the back end of your car
swinging out. This can happen when you fail to slow down enough before a turn and may possibly be
in the wrong gear.
How To Correct
Ease off the accelerator and steer into the skid. If your back end swings out on the right then turn your
wheel to the right which will help straighten up your car. Look well ahead and react to warning signs,
looking for hazardous road conditions such as mud, leaves, fuel spills, loose gravel and sand.
N.B. Leaves and mud can be more slippery than snow
Make sure your speed is not too fast to enable you to drive around any bends under control. The sharper
the bend, the slower you should approach making sure you select the appropriate gear for the speed. If
you can drive into the bend, this will give you extra grip on the road. Try not to leave braking until too late
as braking too much on a bend can result in losing control of your vehicle.
Sharp Change Of Direction Chevrons
Black and white reflective chevrons are used where the road changes direction sharply enough to create a
hazard or to reinforce a bend warning sign where stronger emphasis is needed.
Keep A Safe Following Distance
When a vehicle ahead passes a stationary object, keep two seconds apart. Say to yourself
“Only a fool would break the two second rule.”
If you have time to say this before you pass the same object then you will be at a safe distance
although this will need to be increased in poor weather – in this case, perhaps say it twice to yourself.
Possible Causes Of Accidents
The vast majority of accidents will be down to THE DRIVER of the vehicle. Some of the main reasons could
be put down to inexperience, being distracted, being unfit to drive or simply driving irresponsibly.
Possible Distractions / Being Unfit To Drive
Mobile phone use
Passengers in car
Looking for directions in an unfamiliar area
Being unfit to drive
N.B. Children and animals must be correctly seated / strapped in at all times and kept under control
The driver will be responsible for keeping the vehicle maintained and fit to be on the road. You should
regularly check the vehicle’s oil, water and clutch / brake fluid levels and that the vehicle has a minimum
tyre tread of at least 1.6mm. It is also important to keep the windscreen, windows and lights clean to
ensure the car is safe to drive especially in foggy weather.
Do not wait for your next service. Check the above on a regular basis and essentially before a long journey
or a motorway journey. The vehicle’s oil, water and clutch / brake fluid levels ……. and tyre pressures
should all be checked when the engine and tyres are cold.
N.B. Correct fluid levels will only be given when the car has been standing and is on a flat surface.63 emergency stop pics