The Highway Code provides clear rules on the distance that drivers should leave between themselves and the vehicle in front yet when tested, 90% of motorists underestimated the distance required to stop a car at 30, 50 and 70mph.
The biggest underestimation was at 70mph where the correct figure is 96 metres. On average, motorists believed the stopping distance to be 61 metres, almost nine car lengths too short.
Kwik-Fit’s safety concerns were increased by the fact that one car in ten has a tread depth below the legal 1.6mm threshold. Research carried out by the Motor Industry Research Association (MIRA) found that on wet roads it takes nearly 8 metres extra almost one bus length to stop from 50mph once tyres have worn down to 1.6mm compared to 3mm.
David White, customer service director at Kwik-Fit commented: "The technology and stopping power of today’s cars can lull you into a false sense of security and any motorists who think they’ve forgotten recommended stopping distances should revisit the Highway Code to refresh their memory. But it’s also vital that they check the condition of their tyres. No matter how powerful your brakes or how sharp your reactions, if you’re driving on tyres that should really be in retirement it will take you longer to stop, particularly in wet and wintry conditions."