A car accident can happen in a split second. This is especially true at highway speeds, where drivers could be covering hundreds of feet every few seconds. It doesn’t take much for an accident to happen.
With this in mind, it’s worth considering how long it simply takes a person to press their brakes. There are two parts to this process, which can slow down reaction times.
Perceiving the need
First and foremost, the driver has to “perceive the need” to stop the car. This usually takes around 3/4 of a second. For drivers who are distracted or not thinking clearly, it could take much longer. They have to consider the events occurring around them, determine the odds of an accident and decide that it’s time to press the brakes. People often feel like they do this instantly, but they don’t. A delay of around a second could cause someone to get into an accident even as they are moving their foot to the brake pedal.
That movement itself is the second half of the process, along with pushing that brake pedal to the floor. Again, people often think of this as a quick process, but it generally takes another 3/4 of a second.
This means that, in the best case, it’s going to take a driver one and a half seconds to move their foot and press the brakes after it becomes clear that they need to. If distraction adds another few seconds, they could end up driving the length of a football field before they even try to stop the car.
This just underscores why it’s so important for drivers to be alert at all times. If you’ve been injured in an accident caused by another driver, then you also need to know what legal options you have.