How to Test Vehicle Stopping Distance

Disney’s Epcot Center in Orlando, Fla. is home to some of the most unique attractions in the world. You can experience G forces during a simulated trip to Mars on Mission Space or fly high over the mountains suspended on a hang glider on Soarin’. But perhaps the park’s most popular attraction is the nearly one-mile journey as a crash-test dummy in Test Track. Riders ascend hills, travel through high-banked turns and feel the effects of high-speed braking both with and without the aid of anti-lock brakes [source: Disney].
Test Track is a five-minute joyride that simulates the testing procedures auto manufacturers put cars through before they hit showroom floors. And while it’s the closest most of us will get to ringing out a Corvette at top speed at Daytona International Speedway or tossing a BMW M3 through the corners at the Nurburgring circuit in Germany, we can test one of the most important components of our vehicle, the braking system.
A vehicle traveling at 60 mph (96.5 kph) covers 88 feet (27 meters) per second. When you go to brake, it typically takes you about three-quarters of a second to realize you need to hit the brakes and another three-quarters of a second to actually push the brake pedal. These are your perception and reaction times respectively. That’s 132 feet you’ll travel before you even begin to stop. Add in factors such as vehicle weight, gravity, and traction and you are looking at a braking distance of close to 300 feet or the length of a football field before you’ll come to a complete stop [source: Edmunds].
Testing your vehicle’s braking distance can be the difference between a near-miss and a serious accident on the road. This article gives you the data you need to test your vehicle’s braking distance. Let’s start by looking at the factors that contribute to braking distance in the next section.

Bob Knight

Position: Coach
Bombastic Bob Knight made his name as the lord and ruler of Indiana University basketball. In 1971, “The General” arrived in Bloomington from the U.S. Military Academy, and his Hoosiers would go on to win 11 Big Ten Conference titles and three national championships.
Knight coached the U.S. Olympic team to a gold medal in 1984, became the youngest college coach ever to win 300 games, and maintains one of the best winning percentages in history.
Born October 25, 1940, in Orrville, Ohio, Knight developed an early fascination with sports and coaching. He excelled in baseball, basketball, and football, earning varsity letters in each at Ohio State University.
The Buckeyes won the national championship in 1960, with Knight, then a sophomore, coming off the bench in support of John Havlicek and Jerry Lucas. After college, Knight coached one year in high school, then became Tates Locke’s assistant at Army. When Locke resigned two years later, West Point officials promoted the 24-year-old Knight, making him the youngest head basketball coach of a major college program in history.
Borrowing philosophies from Clair Bee, Fred Taylor, Adolph Rupp, and even football’s Vince Lombardi, Knight crafted overachieving teams at Army. Then he moved to the run-and-gun Big Ten and quickly built the Indiana Hoosiers into a defensive powerhouse.
In 1976, Indiana won the national championship with a 32-0 record, making Knight the first man ever to both play on and coach an NCAA champion. The Hoosiers added another title in 1981, Isiah Thomas’s last season, and a third in 1987, when Keith Smart’s last-gasp shot beat Syracuse.
Volatile and profane, Knight has suffered numerous pies in the face over the years, most notably in 1979 when he was arrested for assaulting a security officer at the Pan-Am Games in Puerto Rico, and in 1987 when his refusal to leave the court after receiving three technical fouls caused Indiana to forfeit a game against the Soviet national team.
Sports Illustrated called him a “Stone Age relic,” although others have praised him for his commitment to the student athlete. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1991.
Still, the “relic” believers scored a victory in 2000, when Knight was forced from his position with Indiana after lying about having choked one of his players, Neil Reed, in practice. Knight took a season off, and then he agreed to coach Texas Tech, where he broke the all-time record for games won, 879, with a win over New Mexico on January 1, 2007.

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