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How long does it really take a driver to react?

On Behalf of | Oct 6, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

Many drivers believe that they have excellent response times or reaction times. If you ask them how long it takes to react to something unexpected ahead of them, they’ll tell you that they will react immediately.

But will they? Probably not. Studies show that it actually takes about 0.75 seconds for a driver to realize it is time to react. That’s just how long it takes the brain to process something unexpected, like another car pulling out in front of them.

But that driver still isn’t slowing down. It will take another 0.75 seconds for them to take their foot off of the gas and move it over to the left, where they can push on the brakes. The car hasn’t started slowing down until they do this, and 1.5 seconds have already passed.

Some factors increase reaction times even more

To go along with this, it’s important to note that some drivers may have longer reaction times than they should. The above timeline only applies under perfect conditions, where the driver is watching the road and preparing to react.

But what if the driver is actually singing along with the radio? What if they’re looking down at their phone? What if they’re talking to a passenger? All of these things could add additional seconds to the reaction time, perhaps even doubling it. Many accidents happen before drivers even have time to react at all.

These accidents can lead to significant injuries, such as traumatic brain injuries (TBIs), internal injuries, spinal cord injuries and much more. Those who have been injured need to know how to seek financial compensation for medical bills and other costs.