Brain Reaction Time


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Have you been involved in an accident due to poor brain reaction time? Imagine you're driving down the road at a normal speed when suddenly, out of nowhere, you see a huge rock in the middle of the road. You immediately take your foot off the accelerator and step on the brake. However long this complete operation takes you is called brain reaction time. This is a very important factor when driving, because it can determine the difference between safe driving and an accident.

There is no general consensus as to what the “average” brain reaction time is while driving, because it is a very complex measure. But, it is believed that 0.7 seconds is the optimal brain reaction time under the best conditions. There are many factors to consider when determining this number, including:

  • Age – Obviously younger people tend to have faster reaction times
  • Gender – There seems to be evidence that women take slightly longer to react
  • Urgency – How important the need to brake is affects the time it takes to do so
  • Mental load – If a driver has a substantial amount of things on its mind, it could be slower to react
  • Visibility – An easier sign takes less to react to than a surprise one
  • Impairment – The use of any impairing substance greatly reduces reaction time

Driving is very complicated, regardless how much practice we get every day. There are a countless number of vehicles sharing roads with you, and each of those roads has a significant amount of signs. On any given trip you must be aware of who’s in front, behind, and next to you, as well as the speed limits, the road conditions, and the address you are looking for. This can be quite challenging, especially when you have a shopping list or a pending payment on your mind. Or, even worse, when you have had a few drinks or are losing your 20/20 vision due to aging. The bottom line is, brain reaction times are very subjective, and if you have been involved in a car accident because of a delayed response, you should contact an experienced attorney to get legal counsel.

Brain reaction time plays a big part in many car accidents.

Minimum distance required to stop a vehicle, based on reaction times and speed.

SPEED(km/h)

NORMAL(0.75sec)

DELAYED (2 sec)


DISTANCE (METERS)

DISTANCE(METERS)

50

10

28

80

16

44

90

18

37

100

20

41

110

22

45

120

25

66

Notes: 1) a driver with normal reaction time, driving at 50 kilometers per hour needs approximately 10 meters to stop his vehicle. 2) a driver in the same conditions but with delayed reaction time ( due to alcohol, for example) will need 28 meters to stop his car. 3) a car at 120 kilometers per hour and traveling at a distance of 10 meters from the front vehicle, never will be stopped by his driver without hit the front vehicle once the minimum distance to be stopped is 22 meters.

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