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Tire engineers help save us from ourselves

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A lot of improvements have been made in tires in 61 years. An impressive one is in shortened stopping distances, as Modern Tire Dealer's Managing Editor Lori Mavrigian's latest blog points out.

A 1951 driver's manual she found says that the normal reaction time is 3/4 of a second. "Suppose you are driving a car, with four-wheel brakes in good condition, at the rate of 20 miles an hour on a dry, smooth roadway," the manual says. "A danger arises and you slam on the brakes. In the 3/4 of a second interval before the brakes are applied, the car advances 22 feet.

And from the time the brakes are applied until the car comes to a halt, the car advances 21 feet. So the total stopping distance -- the reaction time distance plus the braking distance -- is 43 feet."

See what the total stopping distance was at 50 mph some 61 years ago and compare it to what is capable with today's tires at 65 mph in her blog "We're not getting smarter, but tires are." Click here.

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