Chart of the Day: Stopping Distance vs Speed

The art of information visualization is actually pretty interesting once you dive into it, and there’s no better way than by reading through Edward Tufte’s famous series of books on the topic.

I came across this nifty analysis of how ‘stopping distance vs. speed’ charts can present information in different ways. Here’s a particularly dry one:

speed v stopping 3

Here’s another that offers a different emphasis on the information through a football metaphor:

speed v stopping 2


Tufte’s webpage has a great discussion of information vizualization and data challenges Here’s but one comment:

Several attempts to improve the braking distance graph show that it is relatively easy to correct and improve bad graphics.

However, the real problem is that the data is wrong. The simplistic underlying assumptions misrepresent the realities of vehicle braking.

Driver reaction and response times are large variables from driver to driver. So are expected vs unexpected events and vehicle response time as well. is a non-profit and is volunteer run. We rely on your support to keep the servers running. If you value what you read, please consider becoming a member.


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